Analysts believe many elected representatives from Bersatu could return to Umno after Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as prime minister, resulting in the party losing power at the federal level.
Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Oh Ei Sun contended that Bersatu MPs would be tempted to switch back to Umno, assuming it replaces Bersatu as the main driving force in the federal government.
“Bersatu never had any wide grassroots support in the first place. It won many of its seats because it was riding on the reform hurricane of Pakatan Harapan (in the last general election),” he told FMT.
“Then, there were some Umno MPs crossing over to Bersatu. Therefore, if it (Bersatu) is no longer in power and Umno takes over, then it is likely a lot of these MPs would return to Umno.”
Muhyiddin is now the caretaker prime minister after he stepped down on Monday with his entire Cabinet.
His successor has yet to be determined, and the appointment is the prerogative of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who has the power under the Constitution to select the person he believes is likely to command majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.
Universiti Malaysia Sabah senior lecturer Romzi Ationg also believes Bersatu MPs will cross over for the sake of their survival and to ensure they continue to obtain development funds for their constituencies.
“But some may not do so for various reasons, such as potential rejection from Umno and their own personal views on the possibility of building Bersatu’s political strength.”
While Oh believed similar movements might take place in Sabah, where Umno is part of the Bersatu-led Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) state government, he said it would depend on state Umno chief Bung Moktar Radin.
“After the initial tussle (between Bersatu and Umno) and the state election, Bung has been keeping a rather low profile and has not tried to shake the GRS leadership, as Umno has been doing at federal level.
“So it really depends on Bung because Sabah Umno has a large degree of autonomy in that sense. It would appear that Bung is satisfied with what he has now,” he said.
But that stance could change overnight, he added, should someone from Umno be appointed prime minister.
“In that event, the Bersatu assemblymen and MPs might even switch to Umno on their own, without anyone instructing them to do so.
“Then, with Umno having many assemblymen (in Sabah), there might be sentiments among the Umno grassroots for Bung to make a move (for the chief minister’s seat).”
Oh pointed out that although Bung might not push for such a move, other Umno assemblymen could try to compel the Kinabatangan MP to do so, as they may be convinced that Umno should helm the state by virtue of having the most state assemblymen.
“Once Bersatu is out of power and out of leadership position, I think it’s likely the party would eventually fizzle out or disintegrate because it doesn’t have a lot of base support,” he said.
Romzi disagreed with Oh’s view that Bersatu would fade away, including in Sabah, saying there were credible leaders in the party who could play significant roles to ensure its survival.
“In truth, many are hoping the GRS government will not be affected by federal politics,” he said.
Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Pawi said even in the event of Umno taking the prime minister’s seat, the situation in Sabah would “remain status quo”.
Awang Azman believes that although some Bersatu assemblymen could return to Umno, there will not be any conflict between the two parties in Sabah.
“The Bersatu-Umno relations will remain harmonious as long as the general election is not held,” he said.
Source : FMT
Umno deputy president Mohamad Hasan today said the party will welcome Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin back if he wishes to return.
Mohamad, also known as Tok Mat, said Umno might review the disciplinary decision to sack Muhyiddin from the party in 2016. Muhyiddin is now president of PPBM.
Mohamad said this would have a positive impact on both the Malay parties on many issues, especially in the allocation of seats for the next general election.
“It would be ideal if Muhyiddin accepts the invitation. He never left the party; he was sacked,” he said in a video interview with Malaysia Post.
“If he wants to return to Umno, the party will accept him, and we can review the decision to sack him.
“It is better that way. He will be a prime minister who has the support of the largest party with quite a number of MPs.
“It will make things easier to face the next general election, for example the allocation of seats.”
Muhyiddin, who was Umno deputy president, was sacked alongside Mukhriz Mahathir in a decision by top party leaders, including former party president and prime minister Najib Razak.