KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin received a big boost on Thursday (July 2) when his allies in Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) agreed to name him as their prime ministerial candidate should they win the next general election.
The show of unity by the two key allies in the informal Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance that governs Malaysia came after months of uncertainty for Tan Sri Muhyiddin and his faction, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, since PN came to power in late-February with the shocking resignation of then Premier Mahathir Mohamad.
Both Umno and PAS leaders had said they were not keen to give Bersatu any seat allocations for the next general election, as all three parties tussled for the same Malay-Muslim majority wards in Peninsular Malaysia in the 2018 national polls.
The next national polls are due in 2023, but there is some expectation that it could be held this year.
Some Umno leaders had also called for Bersatu, whose leaders consist of many former Umno chiefs, to be subsumed into Umno.
But on Thursday, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa told reporters that his party and PAS have agreed to name Mr Muhyiddin as the prime minister's candidate for the next general election, The Star online news quoted him as saying.
Tan Sri Annuar said Umno and PAS agreed on this stance following a meeting between them two weeks ago.
In Malaysia's confusing politics of shifting alliances, Umno and PAS have a formal political vehicle called Muafakat Nasional (National Consensus) that have seen them working successfully in recent by-elections.
"During the meeting, we agreed to name him (PM Muhyiddin) as the prime minister if we win the general election," Mr Annuar said, according to The Star.
"The message of support will also be conveyed to our members through our own party channels, " he said at a news conference after attending an event.
On the flip side, the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition and its allies are in disarray with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim tussling to be the next premier.