From PM to broker – Muhyiddin needs to first win back trust, says political analyst

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says steps taken to revoke the Emergency ordinances were in accordance with the nation’s laws, and the Federal Constitution

Exactly one year ago, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was still in the top seat in Putrajaya. Today, however, he has been tasked to play broker by his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, ahead of the 15th General Election.

In order for Bersatu and its president, Muhyiddin, to move forward and form alliances with other political parties, they must first resolve the trust deficit.

Political parties that were once aligned with Bersatu are still reeling from the Sheraton Move in 2020 which saw the collapse of the then Pakatan Harapan government. That move saw Muhyiddin being made prime minister. However, he only lasted 17 months in office.

Cracks between Umno and Bersatu became evident after several Umno leaders withdrew their support for Muhyiddin, thus allowing Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to become prime minister since last August.

Recently, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi filed a defamation suit against Muhyiddin over the latter’s allegations that the former had wanted to “settle or postpone his court cases”.

Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk said the opposition parties must unite, or they would face certain defeat in the 15th General Election.

“The question is, would they want to work with Muhyiddin and other MPs who had walked out on Pakatan Harapan in February 2020?” said Azeem, who is director of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies.

“Bersatu is the biggest loser, and therefore, needs to find a way to get back in power, while PKR, DAP and Amanah need help in winning the election.”

Azeem said Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) may have won fewer votes in the Melaka and Johor elections, but their united front gave them the edge.

“In politics, anything is possible. Power can be addictive. To get back into power may mean forming ‘strange’ alliances.”

He said DAP and PKR working with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to win the 2018 elections was an indication that Bersatu still has hopes of aligning itself with other parties.

“Dr Mahathir was the sworn enemy for years. But then, DAP and PKR decided to work together with him. It was something no one had thought possible,” said Azeem.

“Bersatu and Muhyiddin have a good relationship with Sarawak parties. That could help their cause.

“Looking back, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah formed two opposition coalitions – Gagasan Rakyat and Angkatan Perpaduan Ummah – for the 1990 and 1995 elections.

“Although their bids ended in defeat, the various parties worked together, albeit separately, for a common goal – to defeat Umno and BN. Perhaps this is what Muhyiddin can offer – PKR, DAP and Amanah on one side, and Bersatu and Gabungan Parti Sarawak on the other, both working to defeat a common enemy.”

Bersatu’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin revealed that the Supreme Council, during its meeting yesterday, gave Muhyiddin the mandate to talk to the other parties.

It was earlier reported that Muhyiddin had met several opposition leaders recently, including Pejuang chairman Dr Mahathir, and Pakatan Harapan chairman, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.