PETALING JAYA,Oct 21: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will have the support of his party on any decision he takes regarding power sharing with PPBM, according to a political analyst.
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya told FMT Zahid had the support of most Umno branches and divisions, especially in the rural areas, for the simple reason that he rose from the rank and file of the party.
“He is not from any political family or dynasty,” he said. “Nor did he rise through the help of his in-laws.
“Party members can relate to him as a commoner and he relates well with the grassroots.”
He noted the support Zahid had in the 2018 Umno election, when he won the presidency by defeating Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
However, he also said there might be some uneasiness among grassroots members over Zahid’s failure to act against those not supporting the Umno leadership, especially in the wake of what has happened in Sabah.
He said the grassroots members were angry over the unequal distribution of state seats during the Sabah polls and also the failure to consult Umno in the appointment of a PAS member as an assemblyman and some other appointments.
“The move to appoint a PAS assemblyman in Sabah is seen as a way for PPBM to work closely with PAS at the national level while Umno is being sidelined,” he added.
Awang Azman also said those who were supporting Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister were in the minority in the party and were doing so because of the positions they were given after Perikatan Nasional came to power.
Yesterday, party insiders told FMT several Umno MPs were supporting Muhyiddin to protect the positions and perks they had got from him.
Umno and PPBM are currently negotiating a new deal in which Umno is seeking a bigger clout in the government. The negotiations take place at a time when some Umno MPs are said to have agreed to back PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as the new prime minister if he agrees to Umno’s conditions.
Another political analyst, Azmi Hassan, said only a minority of Umno MPs were backing Muhyiddin.
“Their support for Muyhiddin may be temporary as they will not get the grassroots support for falling out with Zahid,” he told FMT.
Azmi, who recently retired from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said the grassroots sentiment against PPBM over the Sabah polls was strong.
“With such sentiments, those supporting Muhyiddin are likely to return to their president or they may get the brunt of the grassroots’ anger,” he said.