With Muhyiddin the ‘incumbent’, time for PPBM to move on?

Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin are the founding leaders of PPBM, the party formed following Umno’s split in 2015.

PETALING JAYA: PPBM will need to move on without its founder Dr Mahathir Mohamad following the fallout between him and party president Muhyiddin Yassin in the wake of the political crisis which led to the latter’s appointment as prime minister, analysts say.

They say Mahathir did not seem to command the majority in PPBM, and only five PPBM MPs had objected to Muhyiddin being made prime minister.

Oh Ei Sun

“I don’t think it is a question about Mahathir doing something about PPBM but more of what PPBM is going to do about him,” Oh Ei Sun, a fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, told FMT.

On Sunday, Mahathir said he felt betrayed by Muhyiddin after the latter went ahead to form a coalition government with the help of Umno and others, following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

The 21-month government led by Mahathir collapsed after he resigned as prime minister, followed by his party’s pullout from the PH coalition.

Mahathir had said he wanted a non-partisan unity government, and that he would not accept Umno coming in en bloc.

But Oh said Muhyiddin has the power of incumbency, and could use this to “shore up the party’s concession as much as possible”.

“The main point is the cruel fact of Malaysian politics where many would flock to the powers that be, and currently it is Muhyiddin,” he said.

Azmi Hassan

He said any negative impact from Mahathir’s exit from PPBM would be compensated by the gains garnered by Muhyiddin.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Azmi Hassan agreed, saying Muhyiddin holds greater sway in PPBM.

But he warned that the party was in a “delicate situation”.

He said the more important question is whether Mahathir still has control in PPBM.

“I would say it’s not up to Mahathir right now to determine the future of PPBM, but Muhyiddin.”

Awang Azman Pawi

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said PPBM should move forward without focusing on the spat between Muhyiddin and Mahathir.

He felt that Mahathir, who still insisted that he was the chairman of the party, wanted to remain to be seen as a statesman instead of the one who led to the fall of PH.

He said civil society wanted to see how far Mahathir would hold on to his principles in defending the mandate given to PH in the 2018 polls.

“PPBM needs to understand this,” Awang Azman said.

He said PPBM might return to Umno to strengthen Malay political power in line with the Malay-Muslim narrative espoused by the two parties.

“This happened with Semangat 46,” he said, referring to the Umno splinter party, which was later disbanded. “They returned to Umno.”