Bersatu Trapped After Pm S Warning On Calling Early Election Says Analyst
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said he was prepared to call for a general election if Perikatan Nasional withdraws its support for the administration.PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional (PN) is caught in a bind now that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob has declared he is prepared to call for an early general election if the coalition withdraws support for his administration.
Tension between the prime minister and PN has reportedly increased with the Bersatu-led coalition accusing Ismail of failing to fulfil several promises including the appointment of a deputy prime minister.
PN reportedly wanted to withdraw support for the government as a result, but Universiti Malaya (UM) sociopolitical analyst Awang Azman Pawi said Ismail’s insistence yesterday that he would not hesitate to call for the next general election (GE15) if PN pulled the plug means the prime minister has effectively called Bersatu’s bluff.
“Bersatu don’t have anything they can use to make a big impact at GE15. If they have the deputy prime minister’s post, they can be seen as having strengthened their position in the government,” Awang Azman said.
Awang Azman Pawi“But without it, they are seen to have failed in their bid to strengthen their power. This gives them a negative perception, especially among voters.
“They need the deputy prime minister’s post to prove that they are still relevant and to boost their image and influence.
“Now they are trapped. He has the upper hand.”
He stressed that Ismail’s announcement yesterday was also important as he would not want to be “blamed by Umno” for giving Bersatu – an Umno splinter party – such a key role in the government, especially as most Umno leaders were not informed about Ismail’s agreement with PN.
Awang Azman added that it was also key that the Bera MP stand his ground on the matter considering his “popularity in Umno is low” due to the delay in calling for GE15 and the long wait the party had to go through before the Registrar of Societies (RoS) approved a constitutional amendment to allow it to postpone its party elections.
Oh Ei Sun.Noting how some politicians and parties are more opportunistic than others, Oh Ei Sun of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs said Bersatu is at the forefront of opportunism as “vividly testified” by their role in the Sheraton Move as well as their recent push for the deputy prime minister’s post.
“I don’t think PN is serious about withdrawing. They were just trying their luck,” he said.
Meanwhile, another analyst, Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), noted that Bersatu’s persistence for the deputy prime minister’s post did not seem to have gone as planned.
Sivamurugan PandianHe said that if Ismail were to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to dissolve Parliament if PN withdrew support for the government, the party “would be punished” as it would look like they were more interested in lofty positions than a stable government.
“Making threats to withdraw support for the administration is no way to achieve stability,” Sivamurugan said.
“I also don’t think he (Ismail) wants to be held to ransom and threatened by other leaders.
“They (Bersatu) have to be very careful in deciding what they want so that it doesn’t backfire on them in the end.” - FMT
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