After last night’s decision to support Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister, some Umno members are saying they’ll give Muhyiddin one month before deciding on their next move.
Party insiders say even though the budget will be tabled on Nov 6, voting on it will only take place about three and a half weeks later.
“From now till the voting time, if Covid-19 cases drop drastically, some of us may still push our president for fresh polls immediately by not supporting the Supply Bill,” an Umno insider told FMT.
To avoid this, he said, Muhyiddin would have to accept Umno’s earlier demands, including placing Umno MPs in “strategic” positions to boost Umno’s image.
Adding that Umno was “sick and tired” of being treated as an unequal partner in the governing coalition, he said they would wait and see Muhyiddin’s level of commitment to make Umno an equal partner.
“If Muhyiddin wants us to give in, he too has to give in to us. It cannot be one sided,” he said.
Another insider added the cooperation between Umno and PPBM would depend on Muhyiddin fulfilling Umno’s demands before the Budget 2021 voting date.
“Even though Umno is seen as weak as the power has gone back to Muhyiddin, he is still not in a position to turn a blind eye to us as the government will collapse if we push for fresh polls,” he added.
Last night, Umno threw Muhyiddin’s government a lifeline by deciding not to work with PKR and DAP in the formation of a new government.
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Umno Supreme Council had agreed that its MPs should continue to support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition government.
In a statement after the meeting ended around 12.15am at the Putra World Trade Centre, he said the meeting also proposed that the government adopt a more inclusive approach beyond ideological differences between parties in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.
Muhyiddin and Umno in a trap
Meanwhile, political analyst Azmi Hassan said Umno had decided to stick with Muhyiddin in PN as it was left with limited choices.
“If it is not Muhyiddin, it is Anwar Ibrahim, but Umno does not want to work with DAP,” he said.
He said Umno was unable to push for snap polls as the number of Covid-19 cases was at an all-time high, with 1,240 cases reported yesterday.
“Both are in a trap. If Umno pulls out of PN, Muhyiddin will not have the numbers and if Umno does not choose Muhyiddin, then the next choice is Anwar, which many in Umno disagree with,” he said.
The only way forward was for Muhyiddin to “give and take” with Umno president Zahid and for the latter to cooperate with the prime minister, he added.
Azmi said Umno and PPBM would still likely be in a deadlock over seat allocations, especially seats that were won by Umno but were now under PPBM due to crossovers.
These include seats held by PPBM ministers Hamzah Zainudin (Larut) and Mustapa Mohamed (Jeli).
“Umno wants these seats that it lost to PPBM during the Pakatan Harapan era. Some of these seats now belong to PPBM ministers.
“For both to work together, they will need to give and take on these seats to avoid another deadlock at the next general election,” he said.
On Oct 13, Umno shocked the nation when it announced it was considering exiting the PN coalition. It was also reported that several Umno MPs were backing Anwar to form a new government.
Muhyiddin had then requested the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to declare an emergency, which would have resulted in the suspension of Parliament. But the request was rejected by the King after consultation with the Malay rulers. – FMT