Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia Bagus News
Malaysia ’s political uncertainty continued on Tuesday as scandal-tainted former leader Najib Razak warned his party, the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), that it risks defeat at the next elections if it continues to cooperate with current prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin .
Najib, who is appealing a 12-year jail term a court handed him in July for corruption and abuse of power, shared his concerns that the party would be criticised for collective government decisions and gaffes, despite none of its members holding senior cabinet roles.
He said in a lengthy Facebook post that he was “worried that the temporary power and position that is being shared and being enjoyed by Umno … in government will cause a worse defeat in the 15th general election”.
Najib’s comments came after Umno decided on Monday to continue backing the ruling Perikatan Nasional government for now, despite disgruntlement over Muhyiddin’s abortive attempt to have a national emergency declared, which would have allowed him to rule by decree indefinitely.
The proposal – ostensibly made with the country’s worsening Covid-19 situation in mind – was seen by critics as an excuse to stave off a possible defeat of the government’s budget proposal that is expected to be introduced in parliament next week.
Muhyiddin’s failure to win the house’s approval on the budget would be a vote of no-confidence against him, which in turn could trigger an election.
Umno, Malaysia’s largest party by membership, was in power for six decades before being turfed out in 2018 by the reformist Pakatan Harapan coalition. Muhyiddin was a part of that coalition until March, when he and several other defectors exited, causing it to lose its parliamentary majority.
Muhyiddin went on to form a new coalition called Perikatan Nasional, comprising his nationalist Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) with support from Umno, though the latter has declined to officially join.
Muhyiddin’s parliamentary majority in the 222-member lower house is already razor-thin and the threat of Umno withdrawing support would surely have shaken the ruling administration, but there is a more immediate challenge he has to overcome: the budget.
Coalition insiders say Muhyiddin has been in talks with parties from both sides of the divide in a bid to get the bill passed, including the Democratic Action Party – a component of the Pakatan Harapan coalition generally mistrusted by right-wing nationalists.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim of the People’s Justice Party (PKR) could prove a major hindrance to the bill’s passing, as although he has called for a “bipartisan approach” amid the coronavirus crisis, he also recently announced that he had enough support in parliament to challenge Muhyiddin’s position .
Despite this, Anwar has pledged to work with “any politician who shares our aspiration for a democratic nation that is free from corruption and abuse of power” – widely seen to be a swipe at Najib, who had suggested working with Anwar.
Anwar and international rights groups say the cases against him – for which he spent a total of nine years in jail – were politically motivated.
Najib is a central figure in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB ) global corruption scandal that saw billions siphoned out a sovereign wealth fund and frittered away on luxury properties, a superyacht, Hollywood parties and film production, and fine art.
He has been found guilty of seven charges of corruption and abuse of power, with two further trials still pending.
Despite this, the former prime minister continues to enjoy strong support both inside his party and out, and in his Tuesday Facebook post batted away criticisms that he had only suggested Umno work with Anwar because the latter would be more sympathetic to his cause, given the PKR leader’s own sodomy and corruption convictions.
He desired no position in government for himself, Najib said, only wanting “my cases to be heard to clear my name through the court process”.
James Chin, a political analyst from the University Tasmania’s Asia Institute, said “a lot of senior people in Umno still consider Najib a thought leader [and] the most strategic member”.
Even with “clear evidence of corruption”, Najib had succeeded in maintaining and even bolstering grass-roots support, said Chin, adding the present crisis was merely a continuation of the March political coup that saw a new administration hastily cobbled together “leaving lots of people unhappy”.
Malaysia was placed under partial lockdown soon after Muhyiddin came to power in March and remained under a “national movement control order”, which wrought havoc on the economy as people sheltered in place, for several months in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19.
While this initially succeeded in bringing down the number of new daily cases, September’s state-level elections in Sabah caused infections to skyrocket once more – with upwards of 1,200 new cases being reported in recent days.
This new wave of infection, coupled with Anwar’s numbers power play and Umno’s general dissatisfaction at Muhyiddin, was what sent the beleaguered prime minister scampering to the royal palace in search of a state of emergency being proclaimed.
Malaysia’s king, however, said such a move was unnecessary and warned against politicking.
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