[Opinion] What is the purpose of UMNO withdrawing their support for the PM?

The citizens of Malaysia came to a shock when they woke up on the morning of 8th July to see Dato’ Seri Zahid Hamidi making an announcement that UMNO has decided to withdraw support from the current Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Mahiaddin) due to his failure in resolving the pandemic afflicting our beloved country. This news has prompted over 5k tweets #kerajaantumbang (fallen government) and is suspected to gain traction throughout the day. But does UMNO’s withdrawal actually mean the end of the current Prime Minister?

Firstly it is important for us to examine how a Prime Minister is appointed in this country. Under A.43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, a Prime Minister is appointed by the YDPA based on the Member of Parliament who is most likely to command the majority of parliament. Here it is important to note that the support comes from the MP and not the political party a particular MP is aligned with. Therefore even if UMNO declares they no longer support the PM, the actual test whether Muhyiddin still commands the majority of parliament can only be seen when parliament reconvenes, which gives him plenty of time to move his chess pieces and ensure there is enough support for him when the time comes.

Photo by GR Stocks on Unsplash

If this is the case, why would UMNO choose to declare their withdrawal of support especially after Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri and Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein were recently promoted? It is likely that UMNO is merely playing its own chess game to prevent losing the support of the citizens when election eventually comes again. Declaring their withdrawal is nothing more than an attempt to sway the public to believe that UMNO cannot be blamed for the government that has been unsuccessful in curbing the spread of Covid-19 for the past 1 year.

They are hoping to put the blames on all the “failures” of the current government on the PM while securing seats for themselves when the election comes, all the while blinding the public of the truth that they were just as responsible for this “failure” as the government, after all the current cabinet consists of UMNO members such as Datuk Sri Dr. Adham Baba (Minister of Health), Ismail Sabri (Minister of Defence and now Deputy Prime Minister), Khairy Jamaluddin (Minister of Science, Technology & Innovation), Hishamuddin Hussein (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Datuk Seri Dr. Noraini Ahmad (Minister of Higher Education), Tan Sri Annuar Musa (Minister of Federal Territories) and other UMNO members holding deputy posts in the cabinet as well as some others who are politically appointed at Goverment-linked Companies (GLC).

Another possible reason for declaring their withdrawal of support could be because the current government is on the brink of collapse and UMNO is using this opportunity to create a narrative where they are seen as the savior of the people because they manage to “bring down” this “incompetent” government. Even if they do not succeed, they will be remembered as the white knight who attempted to relinquish the evil warlord from his throne, helping them to garner more supporters in the upcoming election.

Photo by Ember Navarro on Unsplash

Only time will tell how this epic chess game between UMNO and BERSATU will be played out when parliament finally reconvenes on July 26th. Until then, all we can all do is sit back and have some popcorns while the showdown takes place, and be prepared for our beloved DSAI to (probably) announce that he has the numbers again.

Kage is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Author: Kage

Hoping to entertain someone with my thoughts.