Analyst sees Bersatu at losing end of Najib-Muhyiddin open war

The war of words between former prime ministers Najib Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin will cause repercussions for Bersatu ahead of the Johor elections, political analysts warned.

(FMT) – Akademi Nusantara’s Azmi Hassan said Muhyiddin should refrain from retaliating against Najib’s personal attacks, as the “character assassination strategy” by the two would risk Bersatu suffering more harm than good.

Azmi said given that Muhyiddin is Bersatu president and has close ties with Johor as a former menteri besar, the party’s success is synonymous with him.

“Bersatu has more to lose than gain because it is synonymous with Muhyiddin, who is synonymous with Johor,” he told FMT, adding that the open war between Muhyiddin and Najib was all closely related to the Johor elections.

Azmi Hassan.

In contrast, he said, Najib has no position in Umno and is not synonymous with Johor.

Muhyiddin is the Pagoh MP and was also the Gambir assemblyman before the state assembly was dissolved on Jan 22.

Azmi said although Najib has repeatedly attacked Muhyiddin of late, the latter needed to stop firing back.

“With the character assassination escalating ahead of the Johor elections, Muhyiddin should not retaliate because Bersatu has more to lose than gain from it,” he said.

Ahmad Atory Hussain.

Ahmad Atory Hussain opined that Bersatu was more “afraid” of Umno than Pakatan Harapan (PH) after a series of state elections and by-elections, which were largely in favor of Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).

“The real battle is between Umno and Bersatu, in terms of their respective strengths and support. Muhyiddin is afraid of Najib and (Umno president) Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s supporters because there are still many of them.

“As for PH, since the last three state elections, in Sabah, Melaka and Sarawak, the influence and support of voters for PKR and DAP has declined sharply and Anwar’s influence has also waned,” said the veteran analyst.

Atory also said the Johor elections were considered an important indicator for every party ahead of the next general election (GE15).

“Johor will be the main stage to test which party can win more seats. If Umno can get a comfortable majority (out of the 56 seats up for grabs), then it will easily have a good chance of forming the government,” he said.

Johor will go to the polls on March 12, with nominations set for Feb 26 and early voting on March 8.