Despite returning to power, PPBM risks ‘hostile takeover’ by Umno

PPBM founders Muhyiddin Yassin and Dr Mahathir Mohamad fell out over the composition of a new coalition government after the fall of Pakatan Harapan.

PETALING JAYA: The fallout between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin in the wake of the latter’s appointment as the prime minister last week might precipitate the end of PPBM, the party they found following their exit from Umno in 2016, party sources say.

They say despite only a handful of MPs staying put with Mahathir by not joining Muhyiddin’s bloc which led to the formation of Perikatan Nasional with support from Barisan Nasional, PAS and GPS, a “huge schism” now threatens to destroy PPBM.

“There are still those in the Supreme Council who are against leaving Pakatan Harapan and joining forces with the (former) opposition,” one highly placed source told FMT.

On March 1, Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister after a week of political vacuum in Putrajaya, following Mahathir’s resignation from the top post.

This was after PPBM and several MPs led by sacked PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali broke ranks with PH to form a new coalition government, in a move seen to keep DAP out of federal power as well as thwart PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim’s prime ministerial ambition.

Mahathir initially proposed a unity government, but later returned to PKR, DAP and Amanah who re-nominated him to lead a revived PH government. However, the coalition failed to convince the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that it had the support of the majority of MPs.

Mahathir has since said that Muhyiddin had betrayed him for agreeing to take in Umno MPs en bloc.

A party insider said there are worries of a “hostile takeover” of PPBM by Umno.

They cite the existence of a “pro-Umno” faction in PPBM, which does not want PPBM to head any state government.

Following the collapse of the PH federal government, Umno managed to return to power in its former bastion of Johor, with state Umno chief Hasni Mohammad replacing the PPBM man as menteri besar.

The insider told FMT that PPBM’s fall from power in Johor is just one of many “concessions” made by PPBM.

“The past few days, we have witnessed a free for all buffet courtesy of PPBM,” the source added.

It further said there are concerns that Perikatan Nasional could benefit Umno the most as the party with most seats in the new alliance.

Meanwhile, there has been silence among most PPBM leaders following the crisis.

“But the grassroots are angry. There is no clear direction,” the same source told FMT.

Still, there is no turning back from Muhyiddin, who was thrust to the top post. He has already tried to consolidate his position by postponing the Dewan Rakyat sitting, avoiding any attempts at a parliamentary coup by PH.

One leader loyal to Mahathir said PPBM had “inflicted damage” on itself by “rushing” into an alliance with Umno.

“We have opened ourselves up to being taken over lock, stock and barrel.”