PETALING JAYA: Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal for a presidential council of party leaders in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government may not garner support from certain allies, according to a political commentator.
Sociopolitical analyst Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said that Umno was merely an ally of PPBM in the federal administration, together with PAS and GPS, and not a member of the coalition.
“This proposal will put Umno at a ‘disadvantage’ and PPBM may take control of seats in Malay majority areas if a general election is to be called,” said Awang Azman.
“For GPS, their participation in PN was primarily to ‘save Malaysia’ after Mahathir (Mohamad) resigned and they do not wish to be dominated by PN,” he said.
Awang Azman said talk of a PN presidential council had come about after Muhyiddin grew confident that PPBM could dominate the national political scene, as he survived the first round of the 2021 budget vote on Thursday.
The proposal for a presidential council comprising leaders of PN, Barisan Nasional, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), was raised by Muhyiddin earlier.
He said leaders could “discuss policies and economic, social and education issues” together as not all party leaders are in the Cabinet. “Through this meeting, they can express their views and this can be taken into consideration in implementing policies,” Muhyiddin added.
BN chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is not in the Cabinet, and neither are GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg and GRS chairman Hajiji Noor, who are chief ministers of Sarawak and Sabah respectively.
Universiti Utara Malaysia lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff said Umno would be in an awkward position if the party disagrees with the formation of the council.
He said some damage could have been prevented if the presidential council was set up earlier.
“This presidential council was partly a response to Umno’s clamour for their voices to be heard and consulted,” he added.
Former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia academic Azmi Hassan said the presidential council would be a way forward for PPBM, Umno and PAS if they wanted to contest under the same logo.
“I think it’s not too late to create the so-called presidential council so they (leaders) can have the means to transmit their aspirations on national policies. Currently, policies are formulated and controlled by a PPBM prime minister and critical portfolios such as education and economy are helmed by PPBM ministers too,” he said.