Umno-PPBM ceasefire may lead to snap polls

The two sides were looking at having the polls after significant drops in Covid-19 cases.

(FMT) – Several MPs from Umno are working with PPBM leaders on the possibility of holding a snap general election, according to people with knowledge of the talks.

They told FMT the election was among the moves being considered as the way forward after Umno’s declaration of a ceasefire in its quarrel with PPBM.

They said the two sides were looking at having the polls after significant drops in Covid-19 cases.

“The plan is to limit ceramahs and go big on television, radio and social media,” said one source. “The opposition will have a good reach in urban areas through social media but we will give them a fight in rural areas, where we connect better with voters.”

He said the advantage Umno and PPBM had with rural and semi-urban voters would be multiplied with limits on ceramahs due to Covid-19 and with their association with PAS.

He added that Muhyiddin Yassin was being considered as the group’s candidate for prime minister following victory in the election.

Another source said PPBM was happy with the ceasefire and the Perikatan Nasional administration might appoint an Umno member as deputy prime minister.

“The ceasefire is temporary because Umno wants snap polls,” he said. “All parties, even PPBM, have to give in so that BN, PAS and PPBM will remain together until GE15.

“But the ceasefire is crucial. It has caused majority support to shift from Anwar Ibrahim to Muhyiddin.”

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi previously said several Umno MPs were in support of Anwar. This was after the opposition leader had announced he had the support of a majority of MPs to form a new government.

Umno recently demanded that the post of deputy prime minister be given to it and the party be given equal power in the governing coalition.

Another Umno source said the PN coalition decided on the ceasefire with the understanding that polls would be held soon.

He also said it had become easier for Umno to discuss seat distribution for the polls now that some of its leaders had been weakened.

“There are several factions in Umno,” he said. “Some are against PPBM, some are for Zahid and some are for Najib Razak.” Other factions were backing Hishammuddin Hussein and Khairy Jamaluddin, he added.

Referring to deputy president Mohamad Hassan, the source said he appeared to have been sidelined for now although many party members believe he could bring glory back to Umno.

He said MPs from Umno would support a leader only if they were certain he would be the next prime minister or deputy prime minister.