Analyst: PPBM split will show after GE14

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff says the results of the May 9 polls will determine which PPBM faction gets the upper hand.

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst has predicted that developments in the aftermath of the general election will make it clear to the public that PPBM is indeed divided into two factions.

Speaking to FMT, Kamarul Zaman Yusoff of Universiti Utara Malaysia said he believed former MP Tawfik Ismail had got it slightly wrong when he speculated that there was conflict between PPBM chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin Yassin.

Rather, he said, there seemed to be a power struggle between Muhyiddin and his deputy, Mukhriz Mahathir, because it looked like the party regarded the former prime minister as no more than a figurehead.

Tawfik recently made his speculation as a reaction to PPBM’s announcement of its list of candidates for Johor. He noted that Tariq Ismail, a PPBM Supreme Council member and staunch Mahathir supporter, wasn’t on the list while lesser known PPBM figures linked to Muhyiddin were.

Kamarul agreed that something was amiss in the party’s decision against fielding Tariq in Sri Gading, where he serves as PPBM’s divisional liaison chief.

“Usually, a party would field its more prominent leaders,” he said. “Tariq was at the forefront when PPBM was set up.”

He said the case of PPBM strategist Wan Saiful Wan Jan raised questions as well.

He noted that Wan Saiful, the former head of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, was apparently initially slated to contest in Titiwangsa.

“It seems he was promised Titiwangsa. He did some work there and then was suddenly thrown to Pendang in Kedah, a difficult place to win as it is a conservative area, less suited for him than Titiwangsa.”

Kamarul said he believed the results of the May 9 polls would determine which PPBM faction gets the upper hand.

“PPBM has yet to hold party elections,” he said. “So leaders who win in GE14 will stand a better chance of winning party elections. If Tariq doesn’t stand in GE14, and Wan Saiful loses, they have little chance of going up in the party ranks.”

Kamarul also spoke of the the apparent feud in PKR, agreeing with many pundits that the rival factions were headed by deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali and vice-president Rafizi Ramli.

He said it was likely that Rafizi’s camp would side with Mahathir, DAP and Amanah, while Azmin’s faction would back Muhyiddin.

“It is likely that a majority of Pakatan Harapan leaders will side with Mahathir if push comes to shove, but somehow Muhyiddin’s camp seems to control who in PPBM gets to contest and where, with the exception of Kedah, which is Mahathir’s and Mukhriz’s stronghold.”

However, he said he did not believe that the two PPBM factions would resort to sabotaging each other.

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