EVER since Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced plans to set up a new political party there is rife speculation that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin may become president of the party and appointed as the opposition’s prime minister candidate. The former deputy prime minister has brushed off such suggestions that he would take over the role of opposition leader from the People’s Justice Party (PKR) president Datuk Seri Dr. Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who he stressed remains the opposition leader.
Even Datuk Zaid Ibrahim has weighed in on the matter by suggesting that Muhyiddin be made opposition leader and Prime Minister-designate, as the federal opposition needed a leader who could take over the administration of the country and unite all opposition parties including Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). However, Zaid did express concern as to whether the opposition parties are willing to accept Muhyiddin. Democratic Action Party (DAP) Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng has responded by insisting Muhyiddin join the opposition bloc before he can even hope to have a shot to become the opposition’s choice for Prime Minister candidate.
For now Wan Azizah along with PKR has welcomed Muhyiddin’s cooperation. He is set to join forces with PKR on a nationwide roadshow that seeks to inform the issues pertaining to state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). Muhyiddin has downplayed his involvement with PKR stating that it is a non-issue. He also cites working together as being more important than being a member of any political party, which is why he is supporting the roadshow. It is obvious that Muhyiddin is threading carefully as he moves forward in the next phase of his political life.
On the other hand, Guan Eng’s remark on Muhyiddin hints at rift in opposition ranks. One can surmise that there are already differences between the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan and Mahathir’s new party. Guan Eng has stressed that Muhyiddin’s candidature for prime minister will need to be discussed among the leaders of the three Pakatan Harapan parties – DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Nasional (Amanah).
While information on Mahathir’s party remains scarce, the recent developments indicate that the opposition wants to forge an alliance with his proposed new party but have yet to establish a fundamental agreement on power-sharing and basic reforms. Ironically the opposition coalition has trouble seeing eye-to-eye even without Tun Dr. Mahathir’s new party thrown into the mix. This was evident in the recent DAP-PKR tussle on whether to hold Penang state’s election.
It is increasingly apparent that the opposition has yet to get their act together and has everyone on the same page. Compromises will need to be made, consensus need to be reached, and solidarity achieved before the opposition can prove to be a credible force to be reckoned with. Recent events have only proven that all these essential ingredients are unfortunately missing. Each respective party is only keen to advance its own party’s interest. As the saying goes ‘A leopard can’t change its spots.’ Thus, will Tun Dr. Mahathir’s new party be able to work alongside the opposition or will it only breed contempt and ultimately lead to the coalition’s downfall?
Eddy Liow is an independent analyst and Malaysian Access reader. Article written is strictly his personal view. Malaysian Access does not necessarily endorse the opinions given by any third party content provider.