KL CHRONICLE: Time for UMNO to Sack Muhyiddin & Mukhriz #SaveMalaysia

Friday, April 1, 2016

Time for UMNO to Sack Muhyiddin & Mukhriz #SaveMalaysia

Umno would risk little if it decides to expel Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir as neither command enough support to create fissures within the party, according to political observers.
Such a move will also unlikely galvanise the pro - opposition Save Malaysia movement seeking to remove Datuk Seri Najib Razak as prime minister, as both men’s supporters were not wholly committed to the move spearheaded by Mukhriz's father Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

According to Prof James Chin, Muhyiddin and Mukhirz had tremendously failed to display strength by not resisting their removals as deputy prime minister and Kedah mentri besar respectively, which communicated to Umno that both men were a “spent force” and had no grassroots power whatsoever.
“In Malay political culture, you must fight to the death and kill your opponents and they did not do that. Najib did the political killings and emerged stronger as a result,” the University of Tasmania's Asia Institute director said.
Muhyiddin was suspended in late February as Umno deputy president and was last year dropped as deputy prime minister in a Cabinet reshuffle; Mukhriz was replaced by a fellow Umno member when he tamely gave up his Kedah mentri besar post in February after losing majority support in the state assembly.
While the moves had been expected to create a rift within Umno, neither men opposed their removals at length, instead openly accepting the decisions before continuing to snipe away at the party leadership with veiled remarks to dwindling audiences.
Both men attended the so-called People’s Congress last Sunday despite Umno warning its members not to participate in the event, and could face expulsion from the party for defying the order issued by secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor.
Although such a move will cause some fallout within the party, Assoc Prof Faisal Hazis said there will be “minimal impact” to Umno as both politicians are not the type of leaders who can rally many people to support them.
“Plus, Najib has a strong grip over majority of the division chiefs, supreme council members and the party warlords. Having said that, their sacking might momentarily destabilize Umno Kedah and Johor because they have some followers in the two states respectively,” the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia academic said.
As for the Save Malaysia movement, Faisal believed there will be little benefit to it as Muhyiddin and Mukhriz's small band of supporters within Umno are already divided over the duo's participation in the campaign seeking the prime minister's resignation.
The campaign polarised support from within Umno with the inclusion of opposition parties, most notably DAP that the Malay nationalist party currently views as its main and irreconcilable political rival.
“Their loyalists would have joined them in the movement while the rest would refrain from doing so. And I don't think they have many loyalists,” he said, noting that there was no widespread protest across the country when they were removed from their government positions.
Centre for Policy Initiatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee similarly noted that while the pro-Muhyiddin and pro-Mukhriz factions have some support within Johor and Kedah as well as some backing in other states, Umno will not be split into rival camps if the two are sacked.
For Chin, while the possible expulsion of the duo might provide fresh impetus for Save Malaysia, the movement was fundamentally flawed as it was a vehicle for Dr Mahathir to use the opposition in his bid to remove Najib but keep Umno in power.

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