UMNO called for the government to focus on the Covid-19 pandemic and uncertain economic situation.
It looks as though Anwar Ibrahim’s bid to become prime minister of Malaysia has hit a metaphorical iceberg. Again.
On Wednesday, Oct. 21, UMNO leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi released a statement on Facebook, calling for a “political ceasefire” and to support the Perikatan Nasional government.
The four points are:
- Conduct a truce so that the Covid-19 situation can be addressed, and help the people who are suffering from hardship and anxiety due to the economic impact.
- Support the Perikatan Nasional government to focus on the agenda of helping the people to face the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn.
- Direct all the leaders in the Cabinet to focus fully on the efforts to help the people and alleviate their burdens from the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic impact.
- Strengthen cooperation among all parties in the Perikatan Nasional government to ensure political stability in the face of the Covid-19 threat and economic uncertainty.
Muhyiddin’s position looks secure
The support from UMNO shores up the position of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin of Bersatu, who faced a rocky couple of weeks after PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim claimed he had the support of a majority of Members of Parliament (MPs).
While the claim was initially met with scepticism, it was boosted by a cryptic message by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that he could not stop his MPs if they wished to support Anwar.
Anwar was granted an audience with Malaysia’s king, and during a press conference afterwards, said that Muhyiddin had lost his support and should resign.
Zahid later said that UMNO may withdraw its support for Muhyiddin and the existing Perikatan Nasional government unless certain conditions were met, however, he did not publicly outline those conditions.
What next for the Bersatu-UMNO partnership?
However, with the latest UMNO missive, it looks as though Muhyiddin will continue to serve as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.
Assuming every UMNO MP will now back the current government, it is unlikely that Anwar will have the numbers to command a majority in parliament.
It remains to be seen what concessions, if any, Muhyiddin will grant to his UMNO backers in return for their support.
Free Malaysia Today reported that Muhyiddin might announce a cabinet reshuffle, possibly with UMNO members in more prominent positions in the cabinet.
There is also discussion, according to Reuters, that UMNO and Bersatu are hashing out which constituencies to contest in the next general election, possibly to avoid competing over the same group of voters.