Umno has little choice but to withdraw from the Perikatan Nasional-led administration after a vast majority of the party’s divisions rejected its cooperation with PPBM, but such a move will only hurt the party, say political analysts.
Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said the Umno Supreme Council which meets on Wednesday to discuss its ties with PPBM, is obliged to follow the voice of the grassroots.
The severing of ties with PPBM, he said, means Umno will withdraw from the ruling coalition, effectively forcing a snap general election owing to Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s wafer-thin majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
“An all-out war is inevitable, but Umno will lose too because some of its prominent leaders are okay working with PPBM and PAS, and they will likely leave or be sacked for not toeing the party line.
“It is hard to believe that Umno can come out unscathed from the exodus of its party leaders, as well as the damage to its image caused by the toppling of a Malay-Muslim government and the forcing of elections despite the rise in Covid-19 cases.” This, he added, would make Umno appear “power crazy”.
Kamarul said he believes PPBM leaders know Umno can no longer be persuaded to remain in government.
“Keeping silent is the best they can do is to ensure that PAS at least will stick with them instead of taking Umno’s side.”
Umno’s withdrawal, he said, would also likely affect other Perikatan Nasional-led state governments, including those led by Umno, effectively triggering state elections.
Universiti Malaya socio-political analyst Awang Azman Awang Pawi also said Umno has to abide by the demands of the majority or risk a rebellion from within.
“‘Only a small minority in Umno who are PPBM-friendly are expected to continue cooperating with PPBM until Parliament is dissolved.”
Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia said the Umno Supreme Council must give a clear signal, so there is no doubt about the direction the grassroots want the party to take.
However, he said, the Supreme Council could decide on continuing to support the government until an election to avoid being blamed for forcing an election during the pandemic.
“What is certain is that continued politicking threatens stability, and investor and public confidence as the country’s economy tries to recover from Covid-19.” – FMT