Muhyiddin’s leadership during Covid-19 crisis will win him support, say analysts

(FMT) – A political analyst believes Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis will help him win support from grassroots and even MPs who had doubts about him.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia’s Azmi Hassan notes that Muhyiddin has been saying and doing the right things during the crisis.

In announcing the government’s RM250 billion stimulus package on Friday, Azmi said, Muhyiddin had demonstrated that the government was doing its best to help everyone across the board.

“I think his speech helps subside the feeling of hopelessness. I think Muhyiddin is the person the people want to hear from now due to his capability,” he told FMT.

Azmi said Muhyiddin’s reassurance that his government cared for all – even though it was not the government people voted for – was important given the perception over the legitimacy of the Perikatan Nasional administration.

“That particular line stresses that even though the government is different from the GE14 results, the Perikatan Nasional government is capable of managing the nation at a time of crisis, and the stimulus package demonstrates that,” he said.

That excerpt of Muhyiddin’s speech has been widely shared on social media, with some users voicing their appreciation for Muhyiddin’s message and acknowledgment of the political scenario.

Azmi said while Muhyiddin had a razor-thin margin of support when he took over as prime minister, his handling of Covid-19 “will change things”.

Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Universiti Sains Malaysia analyst Sivamurugan Pandian said Muhyiddin’s comprehensive speech drove home his point that no one will be left behind.

“For him, he’s the prime minister for everyone regardless of your religion, ethnicity, gender or political beliefs,” he said.

He said even those who had criticised Muhyiddin were giving him credit for his leadership.

“We can’t stop people from politicising or playing politics, even during this crisis, but Muhyiddin will sail through because he addressed the core issues related to daily needs and demands of everyone.

“The best that others can do now is to work with him as a team regardless of whether they are opposition, activists or anyone,” he said.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah.

Lee Kuok Tiung of Universiti Malaysia Sabah said while the stimulus package may not be perfect, as some critics had pointed out, Muhyiddin did try to cover as many sections of society as possible.

Muhyiddin’s handling of the crisis, he said, had given him the opportunity to come out of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s shadow.

“His political enemies will still attack him once the Dewan Rakyat meets, even though I think he has won over many people,” he said.