A ‘forgiving Umno’ could hasten Bersatu’s demise, says analyst

A ‘forgiving Umno’ could hasten Bersatu’s demise, says analyst

A ‘forgiving Umno’ could hasten Bersatu’s demise, says analyst

PETALING JAYA: A political analyst believes a “forgiving Umno” could hasten Bersatu’s demise, amid speculation that Bersatu leaders may follow supreme council member Zuraida Kamaruddin in leaving the party.

Azmi Hassan of Akademi Nusantara said the “writing is on the wall” that more Bersatu leaders will seek to join other parties, especially Umno.

“I don’t think we will necessarily see an exodus. But the reality is that Bersatu is no match for Umno so those looking to retain their seats, particularly those who won on an Umno ticket in the last general election, will be looking to return.”

Zuraida’s exit, while expected, highlights Bersatu’s increasing weakness, Azmi said. Talk of a Cabinet reshuffle, including speculation that Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin would be appointed deputy prime minister, would do little to change things.

Azmi said he doubted that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob would make Hamzah his deputy.

“I don’t see Umno leaders and grassroots accepting that, given that Hamzah is seen as playing a key role in trying to destroy Umno since jumping ship in 2018,” he told FMT.

Ismail would not want to do anything that would jeopardise his popularity, Azmi said.

He said Bersatu’s demise began when Barisan Nasional adviser Najib Razak began “waging a war” on Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, when Muhyiddin was prime minister from March 2020 to August 2021.

“It led to the perception that Muhyiddin, and Bersatu for that matter, could not run the country. Ever since then, everything has gone downhill for them.”

Although there was bad blood between Umno and Bersatu, he believed that Umno would not close the door on Bersatu leaders wanting to join them, including the ones who jumped ship after the 2018 general election.

“It won’t be to avoid clashes in GE15 but to hasten Bersatu’s demise. I think Umno is confident of crushing Bersatu in GE15, so I doubt the motive to ‘forgive’ the deserters is not to avoid clashes but to further weaken Bersatu.”

National Council of Professors fellow Jeniri Amir also said it was likely that more Bersatu leaders would quit the party.

He said there was a lack of confidence and belief in Bersatu, especially after Muhyiddin lost power and in the wake of the Melaka and Johor state elections, in which the party did poorly.

“The party has no future,” Jeniri said. However he had doubts that Umno would accept those who deserted the party as it would lead to conflict, especially since other leaders have stepped up to the plate.

“Unless of course Umno can find a way to make everyone happy, but that’s easier said than done.”

Bersatu is desperate and needs to replace Muhyiddin, says analyst

A ‘forgiving Umno’ could hasten Bersatu’s demise, says analyst

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