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PM under pressure to have snap polls

28 Sep 2020 / 09:56 H.

PRIME Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pix) faces greater pressure to dissolve Parliament following Gabungan Rakyat Sabah’s (GRS) victory in the just-concluded Sabah election, say political analysts.

They predict the 15th general election could be held as early as year-end or latest by the second quarter of next year, Nanyang Siang Pau reported yesterday.

Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain, a senior lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia, said Perikatan Nasional (PN) is expected to strike while the iron is hot and call for snap polls, adding that Umno especially would want to press Muhyiddin to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat soonest while the situation still favours it.

Having studied Malay politics for more than 50 years, Ahmad Atory said based on the goings-on within PN, Umno, which has the lion’s share of the MPs in the coalition, has not been happy playing second fiddle to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) all the while, and will take the opportunity to reshuffle the ranks via a general election.

On the latest threat coming from Pakatan Harapan leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Atory said even if Muhyiddin is reluctant to dissolve Parliament, he might be forced to call for a general election because of pressure from PN component parties.

“I believe (a snap election could be held) the earliest at the end of this year, or no later than the second quarter of next year.”

Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Oh Ei Sun echoed Ahmad Atory’s view that Muhyiddin is under greater pressure after the defeat of former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s Warisan Plus.

Muhyiddin will be forced to call for a snap election at a time when not only is his position within PN shaky, he is also facing an ouster from his premiership by the Opposition.

“Had Shafie won, he could at least delay calling for the election, keep his premiership and consolidate his power. Now, he has to call for an election or even face an immediate challenge to his premiership.”

Ahmad Atory said for Muhyiddin to keep his premiership, the best bet is for Bersatu to forge a new coalition with Pakatan Harapan.

He noted that unlike former prime minister-cum-former Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mahamad, Anwar did not admonish Muhyiddin.

It is obvious that there is room for cooperation between Anwar and Muhyiddin, he said.

“Don’t forget that politics is an art of possibilities. Anything is possible.”

On the possibility that Anwar might not want to let Muhyiddin continue as the prime minister, Ahmad Atory said it all depends on their negotiations and conditions for cooperation.

“What is important is for their coalition to win the next election.”

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