Analysts pour cold water on Muhyiddin’s Malay PM claim
No decisions are made unilaterally by any party chief. Any party chief who decided unilaterally against party principles, especially in a Malay-centric or dominant party, would risk being overthrown.
(FMT) – Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the size of the Bumiputera and Malay population serves as a bastion of Malay politics.
Analysts have poured cold water on Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin’s claim that there is now no guarantee a Malay MP would become prime minister.
The analysts said Malay interests are safeguarded by the size of the population, the dominance of Malay-based parties, and by the constitution.
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Malaysia’s political landscape revolves around political identity, where race and religion prevail.
“Based on the country’s demographics, Bumiputera and Muslims make up the majority of Malaysians. This serves as a bastion (for Malay politics),” he told FMT.
Muhyiddin had argued that MPs no longer had the authority to choose a prime minister and the decision lay solely in the hands of party leaders.
However, Awang Azman said no decisions are made unilaterally by any party chief. Any party chief who decided unilaterally against party principles, especially in a Malay-centric or dominant party, would risk being overthrown.
The discretionary power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was another safeguard, he said. “As stipulated in the Federal Constitution, the power to appoint the prime minister lies at the discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”
He cited the appointment of Nizar Jamaluddin from PAS as menteri besar of Perak in 2008, rather than Ngeh Koo Ham of DAP despite DAP having won the most state assembly seats within Pakatan Rakyat.
Another analyst, Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara, said Muhyiddin was trying to take advantage of Lim Kit Siang’s statement that the Federal Constitution does not explicitly state that the prime minister must be a Malay.
Azmi told FMT that Malaysia’s politics is dominated by Bumiputera and Malay-based parties such as Bersatu, PAS, Umno and Amanah, and it would not make sense for them to turn their back on their parties’ main objectives.
He said the country had yet to see a non-Malay prime minister despite the Federal Constitution provision being in place since the country was formed.
“I do not see at this particular juncture that any president of a Malay-majority party will support a non-Malay prime minister,” he said.
Azmi and Awang Azman said a constitutional amendment would be unnecessary as Malay interests are already protected.