That’s “Outdated” – Annuar on Mukhriz’s PM as Coalition Chair Query

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BN secretary-general Annuar Musa said all components in Muafakat Nasional (MN) were of equal stature, as such, any party leader need not necessarily be elected coalition chairperson.

He said, therefore, the question of whether Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, as prime minister of the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, would be allowed to lead MN as the chairperson was outdated.

MN refers to the political pact formed by Malay-based parties Umno and PAS which was formally inked in September last year, prior to the formation of the PN government with Bersatu in March.

Annuar was responding to former Bersatu deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir, who sceptically queried if MN would allow Muhyiddin to serve as its chairperson.

Amran Hamid/NST

Mukhriz’s question came after Muhyiddin announced yesterday that Bersatu, initially an Umno splinter party, would be formally joining the coalition in support of the PN government as a “grand coalition”.

Traditionally, the prime minister would also chair the political coalition, as long practised by BN and even Pakatan Harapan government during its short two-year reign.

Annuar, who is Ketereh MP, was today quoted by Free Malaysia Today, saying that this sentiment showed that Mukhriz remained outdated.

“We do not practise that system anymore. Bersatu, Umno and PAS, all three can be (coalition) chairperson candidate.

Bernama

“For Pejuang, they can use that. Form a party, appoint (his) child. That is the old model, the model of father appointing his child to be president.

“(They) should emulate Muafakat Nasional. Tolerance, no problem,” he reportedly replied, taking a dig at the new Malay-based party, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) formed by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir is also Mukhriz’s father. The former formed the new party to take on Bersatu, the party he once led until his falling out with Muhyiddin over the decision to exit the Harapan coalition earlier this year.

Mahathir is the chairperson of Pejuang while Mukhriz is temporary president.

According to Annuar today, although BN-Umno had more seats in Parliament, it was willing to allow Muhyiddin the premiership of the new government.

“So, then you can return (the chance) for Umno to be prime minister.”

Despite Umno, PAS and Bersatu being Malay-based parties, he added that MN would not be Malay-centric but is bringing in other parties.

Annuar was earlier today reported by national news agency Bernama as saying that Bersatu’s participation in MN has been agreed to in principle.

However, in the case of Bersatu, the latter would be the youngest component party in the group and although it leads the current ruling PN government, it is overshadowed by Umno in terms of seats held in parliament.

This put Muhyiddin in a precarious position as he leads the ruling coalition with just with a slim majority.

Umno has 39 MPs, while Bersatu has 31 and PAS, 18.

In a blow to Muhyiddin, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had on July 30 said while it supported the current ruling government, Umno would not join any formal PN coalition should it be registered.

Instead, he said the party would focus on strengthening its pact with PAS and BN component parties.

Furthermore, in spite of Annuar’s talk of tolerance within MN, relations have been strained between Umno and Bersatu, as both parties are vying for the same voter base.

This is especially as preparations for seat distributions have begun for the 15th general election.

At the launch of BN Youth’s election machinery for the Slim by-election yesterday, a crowd of BN supporters repeatedly booed when Ahmad Zahidi mentioned Bersatu Youth.

Adding insult to injury, Ahmad Zahid went on to tell the Bersatu Youth wing that it must prove its worth in the by-election. – Malaysiakini