Muhyiddin Yassin wants Bersatu to reject all positions in the new cabinet as one of the party’s strategies and preparations to win the 15th general election, party sources said.
Several sources told The Malaysian Insight the Bersatu president proposed the matter in a recent supreme council meeting but said it was his personal opinion.
Muhyiddin proposed the matter because he wanted to play on the narrative that Bersatu was ready to become the opposition as it rejected kleptocracy.
There was resistance from party leaders on Muhyiddin’s proposal, but it remains on the table as the party prepares to be part of the new ruling government to be headed by Umno vice president Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
“This is the narrative that Muhyiddin is trying to play out, wanting to be able to call out on the actions of the new government dominated by a party made up of kleptocratic leaders.
“In this way, the people’s support will shift to Bersatu, which would make it easier for the party to win the next election,” he said.
Muhyiddin, who is Bersatu president and Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, had released a statement on Wednesday where he said they are supporting Ismail to be the next prime minister, but with several conditions.
Among the conditions is that Ismail, upon being appointed as the top executive, is to ensure his cabinet members are those “with integrity, responsible, and free from any criminal charges in court.”
Muhyiddin said Sabri must also respect the separation of powers, independence of the judiciary and uphold constitutional monarchy.
Another party source said the president was determined to get rid of Umno in the next election after what the Malay party did to Bersatu.
Umno had pulled their support from Muhyiddin, which led to the collapse of his administration.
The source also said that Muhyiddin’s proposal was rejected by some Bersatu supreme council members.
Some of them had expressed concerns that Muhyiddin’s proposal would only risk the party’s influence, especially in the government.
“And there are also concerns that if Bersatu, by rejecting to be in the government, would find it hard to raise funds for GE15,” he said.
The source added that Muhyiddin had made it clear that he was not forcing the party to follow his proposal.
“That is Muhyiddin’s personal view, which he feels will bring a big victory to Bersatu,” he said.
The source said no decision was made during the supreme council meeting, especially for the post of deputy prime minister.
“That is why we see there are already some Bersatu leaders who are indirectly trying to lobby and campaign to grab the post of deputy prime minister.
“Among the four leaders who are lobbying for the post are Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, Mohd Azmin Ali, Hamzah Zainudin and Ahmad Faizal Azumu,” he said.
The source added that Hamzah and Azmin might be in a difficult position to lobby for the post as they are facing rejections from other party members.
“In the past, this rejection was not made openly, but this time the other supreme council members did not hide anymore and criticised these two leaders in front of others,” he said.
Muhyiddin became prime minister on March 1, 2020, after overthrowing the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government that won the 2018 general election.
The PH government fell after prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was also the party chairman, resigned when Muhyiddin took Bersatu out of the coalition on February 24, 2020, and formed the PN government.
Muhyiddin resigned last week after Umno MPs withdrew support for him. – TMI