Dr M’s return as PPBM chairman uncertain despite winning uncontested

Dr Mahathir Mohamad could face action over a series of actions seen as going against party discipline.

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst foresees PPBM moving to prevent Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s re-election as chairman of the party.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the Registrar of Society’s (RoS) confirmation that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is the party’s acting chairman could see disciplinary action taken against Mahathir and his faction for going against the party line, particularly with regard to the formation of the current government.

He told FMT Mahathir could at the very least be suspended from the party, making him ineligible to contest for the chairman’s post.

“This will ensure that Mahathir and members of his faction are rendered inactive and unable to contest for positions or influence the grassroots in the upcoming party election,” he said.

Last March, PPBM election committee chief Syed Hamid Albar announced that no one but Mahathir had registered to contest for the post.

Delegates from 189 party divisions were supposed to cast their votes for the top leadership positions on April 18 at their respective meetings, but this was hindered by the Covid-19 pandemic, with RoS barring all organisations from holding events until June 30.

Yesterday, RoS upheld the resignation from the chairman’s post that Mahathir submitted amid last February’s political turmoil.

Awang Azman said Muhyiddin had the right to act as chairman until elections are held.

As president of the party, Muhyiddin is facing two challengers – current deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir and an unknown, Mohd Faiz Azli Sham.

Another analyst said Muhyiddin should contest for the chairman’s post, adding that this would enable him to “democratically eliminate” Mahathir from the party.

“Even though the nominations are closed, there must be a way to go about it since Muhyiddin cannot afford to have Mahathir in PPBM,” Azmi Hassan, of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, told FMT.

A victory in the party election would do a better job of knocking the former prime minister out of the party than any disciplinary action, he added.

He said Mahathir’s influence in PPBM was already waning and this could culminate in his losing the chairman’s post in the election.

“And it’s no secret that Mahathir’s influence in Pakatan Harapan is also diminishing just as fast,” he added.

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