Muhyiddin seen as main reason for BN’s choice of PH over PN

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was the main stumbling block against Perikatan Nasional’s wish to form the government with Barisan Nasional during the political impasse two weeks ago, according to a political analyst.

(FMT) – Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Muhyiddin went against Umno’s presidential institution and hierarchy by announcing that PN had the numbers to form the government after polling day without first holding talks with the party.

Muhyiddin repeatedly said he had statutory declarations signed by several BN MPs who were aligned to him.

“BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had voiced the party’s readiness to put aside past enmity and work with any coalition in forming the government after the result of the general election,” Awang Azman told FMT.

“But Muhyiddin did not take up the offer although this was the best chance to be magnanimous and receive Umno entirely as a political partner” rather than a few MPs not aligned to Zahid.

He also said Muhyiddin’s refusal to follow the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s wish for PN to form the unity government with Pakatan Harapan went against Umno’s loyalty to the King.

However, Oh Ei Sun of Singapore’s Institute of International Affairs said Muhyiddin was just part of the problem that was standing in the way of a BN-PN partnership.

He said most in Umno were uneasy about Bersatu, seeing it as a party of traitors.

Awang Azman and Oh also said PN and Bersatu would be hard-pressed to find another leader to fill Muhyiddin’s shoes.

A Bersatu insider has told FMT that a change in Bersatu’s leadership may be the catalyst for PN to reclaim Putrajaya through a new alliance with BN. He said PN missed the chance after the polls as Muhyiddin was adamant on becoming the prime minister.

The source said many in Bersatu believed Umno might be more open to such an alliance if it was led by a more pragmatic leader like party secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin.

Nadzri Noor of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia said Bersatu was synonymous with Muhyiddin, adding that there was a gap in credibility between the party president and his deputy, Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

“There’s no other major leader in Bersatu after Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his son Mukhriz left, except for Muhyiddin,” he said. “In fact, Bersatu is personalistic in nature. Muhyiddin essentially defines Bersatu.”