Will a new political platform spell the end for Muhyiddin, Mukhriz?
(MMO) – Can Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir rely on their popularity as former Umno leaders to breathe life into a new political platform to take on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak?
Quite unlikely. Political analysts and politicians believe that such a move would eventually backfire on the duo, saying the creation of yet another Umno offshoot will splinter support for the federal opposition parties.
Instead, the political observers who spoke to Malay Mail Online said the partyless duo stand a better chance aligning themselves with Pakatan Harapan compared to going solo, which would jeopardise their political careers.
“History has proven that splinter parties formed by golongan kecewa [disappointed groups] seldom make an impact, especially when their only platform is to complain about the old party they were in.
“They need a stronger mission and vision statement to gain the confidence of the voters and merely exploiting and twisting the issue of 1MDB in the hope to take over Putrajaya is not strong enough,” Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak said.
“When Onn Jaafar disagreed with Umno’s policy of not taking in non-Malay members, like he proposed, he left the party in 1951 to form IMP [Independence of Malaya Party].
“Since then, during the 1970s and 1980s, PAS saw two breakups and the dissidents left to form Hamin and Berjasa, both parties headed by a former Kelantan mentri besar,” the Sabahan said.
He pointed out that these splinter groups had failed to make any impact, with the exception of Semangat 46, formed by Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to challenge Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership back in the late 1980s.
Semangat 46 eventually disbanded in 1996 after faring poorly in elections, and most of its members subsequently returned to Umno.
“But even then Semangat 46 became only a regional party and mainly in Kelantan. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah realised that such parties can never win federal power so after two elections he closed down Semangat 46,” Salleh said.
Centre for Policy Initiatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee said that forming a new political platform or party would be the “worst option” for Muhyiddin and Mukhriz, adding that their best bet would be to work alongside the federal opposition.
“As for highlighting the country’s problems, without official and Malay media support and coverage the new grouping will be starved of oxygen which will ensure a rapid death for it,” he said.
Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, believes the so-called political platform is set to fail as both Muhyiddin and Mukhriz lacked the charisma and ability to attract supporters within and outside of Umno, and that it would be at the cost of their own careers.
“The two Ms don’t seem to attract a lot of supporters anyhow; and it only further splits an already splintered opposition,” he said.
Political analyst Ibrahim Suffian said that forming a new political platform would not be practical for the sacked Umno leaders as parties opposing the Barisan Nasional (BN) would need to avoid multi-cornered fights and arrive at a consensus to face the ruling coalition head-on in elections.
“I mean, they need to be in a coalition to begin with. Thus they need to negotiate to be allocated such seats prior to the general election. In most cases, multi-corner contests will benefit BN as can be seen in the recent by-elections,” the Merdeka Center director told Malay Mail Online.