KUALA LUMPUR – Oct 30, 2015: It doesn’t matter who prevails in the on-going Umno internal bout because win or lose it is the party that will be the one to suffer the most.
That was the opinion reverberated by several political analysts who also deemed that Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak is indeed caught between a rock and a hard place.
They pointed out that ousting deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was a “big no-no” as it will only deepen the crack within Umno’s rank but agreed that what Muhyiddin is doing is also not good for Umno.
Yet, there were views that if no disciplinary action is taken against Muhyddin for his “deviant” actions, the ‘anti-Najib’ groundswell within Umno will continue to balloon.
Associate Prof. Mohd Azizudin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) observed that striking out Muhyiddin from Umno would only fortify the already ‘swelling’ negative perception of Umno’s intolerance against criticism.
But he pointed out that while the party’s top leaders might deemed Muhyiddin’s actions to be detrimental to the party’s well-being, the public may have differing views about it.
“Given the bad press often hurled against Najib, Muhyiddin’s defiance is seen as heroic and is even lauded by some Malaysians and even among the anti-Najib faction in Umno.
“So, if Muhyiddin is guilty of his actions, the supreme council members must take the utmost consideration when deciding Muhyiddin’s punishment.
“Though he no longer bears any ministerial posts, Muhyiddin still retains his influence. In fact, since he has joined Dr Mahathir’s group in criticizing Najib, he has gained more and more support from the latter’s camp,” he said in reference to Muhyiddin’s open support of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s in attacks against Najib.
However, Azizudin also explained that even if Najib is toppled, it is not guaranteed that Muhyiddin will become the next prime minister.
“If Muhyiddin’s is eyeing for such post, then ousting Najib does not necessarily make him the next prime minister.
“According to our federal constitution, the prime minister is the one who commands the majority of the parliament.
“So unless he manages to oust Najib while at the same time garner enough votes from BN members of parliament then there isn’t any sure-fire way for him to become the prime minister,” said Azizudin.
Associate Prof. Samsul Adabi Mamat echoed similar views with Azizudin on this seeming gambit by Muhyiddin against Najib.
He however, stressed that tiffs between the No. 1 and his immediate deputy or deputies within Umno are common-place.
“The conflict between those sitting on the two posts is nothing new.
“During Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s reign he and his then-deputy president Tan Sri Musa Hitam had irreconciliable differences with one another.
“Then we have Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim whom he had sacked from Umno,” said Samsul.
He added that despite suffering from internal imbroglios, Umno, as proven by time, had always managed to weather “troubled times”.
“Right now it all depends on Najib’s willingness and tact to solve the disagreement brewing between Muhyiddin and him.
“However, I believe that if Muhyiddin’s action truly does impede the well-being of the country then Umno should take proper disciplinary action against him,” he said.
Samsul also told The Mole that it maybe timely for Najib to take a less popular approach in dealing with Muhyiddin’s action.
“The fact that Muhyiddin is free to openly criticize Najib outside closed doors proves that Najib is using a popular approach to ease the people’s tension against him.
“An unpopular approach that could be acted against Muhyiddin is for Najib and the top leadership in Umno to take disciplinary action against him.
“But they must not sack him from Umno. A stern punishment would be enough and it could also discipline other lower ranking party rebels,” Samsul opined.
When asked on the possibility of Muhyiddin parting ways from Umno to join another political party, Samsul stressed that such outcome is very unlikely as according to him, “Muhyiddin is a true blue Umno-man.”
“He might be defying the top leadership but I don’t see him leaving Umno and join other political party,” he said.