Malay Proclamation could 'glue' Dr Mahathir-Muhyiddin

22 May 2023 12:49pm
Chronology of Tun M and Muhyiddin's political relationship. - Thumbnail: Sivamurugan, Romzi
Chronology of Tun M and Muhyiddin's political relationship. - Thumbnail: Sivamurugan, Romzi

"With two of his arch political enemies; Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and DAP, Tun Dr Mahathir was willing to make peace; why not now with Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin, who is his former man?"

Political sociology lecturer at the School of Social Sciences at Universiti Sains Malaysia, Professor Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said this when asked whether the two former prime ministers, Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin will once again forge political cooperation ahead of state polls in six states.

Previously, several Bersatu leaders told Muhyiddin who is also the party's chairman, that he is still not ready to sit at the same table with Dr Mahathir despite being reported to support the latest agenda item, the Malay Proclamation, led by the 97-year-old veteran leader.

He described how the Malay Proclamation could be the 'glue' to unite the prominent leaders, adding that it is not impossible because there is no permanent enemy in politics.

Tracing back to Dr Mahathir's political history, Sivamurugan pointed out that the former GTA chairman was willing to make peace with Anwar and PH in order to overthrow the Barisan Nasional (BN) government led by former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak in the 14th General Election (GE14).

Now that Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin are no longer on the same page after the Sheraton Move in 2020 but currently share the same political enemy, which is the Unity Government, comprised of PH-BN component parties, he is confident that only time will determine if the two influential leaders will join forces to form a political partnership.

"Right now, the two influential and guileful leaders are definitely planning on something and looking for an effective strategy to ensure that PN continues to gain the support of Malay voters as well as to overthrow the PH-administered state governments of Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang in the next state polls.

"Only time will tell whether the two will work together again. The question of the extent of the impact of Muhyiddin-Dr Mahathir partnership comeback needs to be studied and refined in depth first," he told Sinar Premium on Sunday.

Earlier, Bersatu head of information Datuk Razali Idris revealed that Muhyiddin who is also PN chairman, will not stop the coalition leaders from supporting the Malay Proclamation even though the eighth former prime minister refused to meet with Dr Mahathir.

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Razali who is also a PN member explained that Muhyiddin gave the 'green light' to Bersatu and PN leaders to support the proclamation in their personal capacity for the sake of Malay unification.

Sivamurugan explained that cooperation between the two leaders may have a big impact on the six-state PRN if Dr Mahathir is willing to support the PN campaign and they create a fresh political narrative to win the hearts of voters.

"For me, every leader and politician has his own influence and supporters. Previously, many thought Dr Mahathir was no longer relevant, but he proved otherwise when he successfully led PH to defeat BN in the 2014 GE.

"So, even if some people think that even if Dr Mahathir supported PN, it would not have a big impact on BN-PH, I would think otherwise," he explained.

Sivamurugan said that even though GTA and Pejuang, led by Dr Mahathir, lost badly in the 15th general election (GE15), that is not the final say that the former Langkawi MP's influence has faded.

"However, we have to see what Dr Mahathir's purpose is for supporting PN if it becomes a reality—is it for his personal political survival or to be able to add value to PN? It is difficult to read the strategy that runs in his mind," he said.

In another context, Sivamurugan did not rule out the possibility of the latest dilemma faced by the Unity Government led by Anwar, facing negative perceptions of the controversies surrounding the Allah ruling, which could be leveraged by Muhyiddin-Dr Mahathir's coalition to intensify pressure on the existing government.

"Any religious or racial issue not dealt with properly and intelligently will give PN an advantage. Religious and ethnic issues are sensitive and need to be addressed not only from a legal point of view but also from a religious point of view," he added.

Meanwhile, political analyst from Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), Dr Romzi Ationg also agreed with the opinion that Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin will return to work together through the Malay Proclamation ahead of the six states facing polls, although the extent of its effectiveness has yet to be determined.

He is also taking a wait-and-see approach to see if the collaboration could really be realised and whether the combo will be able to have an impact on PN in the state election.

"The current situation shows that PN is gaining support from voters, especially young people and fence-sitters.

Thus, with Dr Mahathir's additional support on Muhyiddin's side, there is a possibility that PN will be able to 'steal' some of the BN or PH die-hard voters who are not comfortable with the Unity Government," he said.