Umno veteran Shahrir Samad questions party’s decision to endorse Muhyiddin as PM

Tan Sri Shahrir Samad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 21, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Tan Sri Shahrir Samad is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court January 21, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Umno’s endorsement for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to remain the prime minister after the 15th general election was premature as seat negotiations have not been resolved, said Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.

In a Facebook post last night, the former Johor Baru MP said Umno should have discussed how its complex web of political alliances would play out heading into the poll.

Umno is part of at least three such groupings: Barisan Nasional, Muafakat Nasional, and the informal Perikatan Nasional ruling coalition.

“Did (we) need to resolve the questions of who is the prime minister first? How did everything become backwards? Don’t (we) need to solve first how BN, MN and/or PN are to contest in GE-15?

“(Is it) for each and every one? One coalition? (Using) different logos or one logo? So who will fill the main position of the government has been the first offer BN, PAS, PPBM (Bersatu), G10?” he wrote on his Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Muhyiddin announced that he has received the backing of the PN components to lead their GE15 campaign and to remain as the prime minister in the event of their victory.

Shahrir compared the decision to former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s move to propose Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Pakatan Harapan’s PM candidate last week.

He went on to ask what it cost Umno to provide the public endorsement for the Bersatu president.

“And what is TS Muhyiddin’s condition after he was announced as the GE15 PM candidate?” he said.

He concluded his post with the hashtag “Muafakat Nasional ada lagi” (Muafakat Nasional still exists), referring to the alliance between Umno and PAS.

Yesterday, Muafakat Nasional co-secretary general, Tan Sri Annuar Musa said both parties have agreed to continue supporting Muhyiddin as PM candidate as the matter was discussed at a steering committee meeting two weeks ago.

PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang also said on Facebook that the Islamist party was fully behind Muhyiddin to remain as the PM after the election.

A general election is not due until 2023 but Muhyiddin is said to be contemplating one soon to secure his personal mandate to lead and dispel views that the PN government seized control undemocratically after Dr Mahathir resigned.

One critical and unresolved issue is the overlap between Umno, PAS, and Bersatu that all appeal to the same Malay base.

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