Umno setting the stage for Muhyiddin’s fall, say analysts

(FMT) – Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is likely to cling on to power unless there is pressure from within his Cabinet for him to step down, said analysts.

Academician Azmi Hassan said Umno’s strategy is to continuously attack Muhyiddin for failing to manage the country during the health and economic crisis.

“They are hoping that when the prime minister falls, the position will go to the No. 2, that is Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob,” he said, referring to Ismail’s recent appointment as deputy prime minister in Muhyiddin’s government.

Azmi also said Ismail had made several public announcements since his appointment on July 9, a move seen to raise his visibility.

“It could be a strategy to be prominent,” said Azmi, but added that Muhyiddin may not resign unless the pressure comes from his Cabinet ministers.

Yesterday, Umno Supreme Council member Ahmad Maslan was reported as saying that 50 out of the 56 Supreme Council members want Muhyiddin to resign.

However, he made it clear that the call does not mean going against Perikatan Nasional as a whole.

National Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir said the Cabinet seems to be silent on Muhyiddin’s position.

“Since the Cabinet is quiet, Muhyiddin will not step down.

“There’s no reason for him to step down as the palace has also said they want political stability,” he told FMT, referring to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the Malay rulers.

He said the status quo will remain until the Cabinet, where Umno has nine ministers and eight deputy ministers, starts pressuring Muhyiddin to step down.

“But they hold important positions, and if Umno says the government has failed, that will mean the Umno ministers have failed, too,” he added.

Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said even though most Supreme Council members reject Muhyiddin’s position as premier, the majority of Umno MPs are taking the wait-and-see attitude over the next moves from Bersatu and Umno.

Furthermore, he said Cabinet members are not publicly pressuring Muhyiddin to resign.

“I don’t see signs of Muhyiddin resigning yet. In fact, he might fight tooth and nail to retain his position until the general election despite his health problems,” he added.