PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) chances at the impending state polls will be boosted if its chairman Muhyiddin Yassin joins forces with former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to woo the Malay electorate, an analyst said.
Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said PN could leverage on Mahathir, who has been advocating the “protection” of Malay interests, to attract even more Malay voters.
PN previously claimed it secured 54% of the Malay vote in the last general election.
“This is why Muhyiddin and Mahathir are willing to forget about what happened during the ‘Sheraton Move’,” he told FMT, referring to the gathering that led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government – then headed by Mahathir – in 2020.
Former Bersatu chairman Mahathir later said he felt “most betrayed” by Muhyiddin’s move to take the party Bersatu out of PH to form a new government with others, even calling him a “traitor”.
Azmi said an alliance between the two former prime ministers could affect the unity government’s chances at the state elections.
“If PN, with Mahathir, can pull Malay voters in PH states, then maybe the status quo will change.”
Mahathir’s decision to link up with PN could also lead to Pejuang, the party led by his son Mukhriz Mahathir, being accepted into the opposition coalition.
On Thursday, Mahathir was reported as saying he was ready to work with Muhyiddin again, provided the pair could reach a consensus on their common objectives.
A day later, Muhyiddin said he was prepared to work with Mahathir for the sake of “race, religion and country”, adding that the Malay-Muslim community in Malaysia was at crossroads following recent political developments.
Meanwhile, Jeniri Amir, a senior fellow of the National Council of Professors said Mahathir suggested working with PN because he had no other choice and was looking to make himself relevant once more.
“Without working with PN, he doesn’t have an impact as his reputation has been tarnished,” said Jeniri.
Mahathir failed to defend his Langkawi seat in the last general election, and even lost his deposit.
Jeniri said PN could increase its support marginally by teaming up with Mahathir. However, Mahathir’s impact will not be as significant as it was at the 2018 polls. The scenario changed after the Sheraton Move, he said.
“It will probably strengthen PN’s position in states like Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu and Negeri Sembilan, but not in Penang,” said Jeniri.