Asian Insider

Power plays: How different parties in Malaysia stack up with a possible election this year

Malaysia's political parties are getting their houses in order ahead of an imminent general election, with key players jostling for position. The Straits Times examines the power struggles within and their likely outcomes.

Anwar's PKR set for crowded battle for key party positions amid waning support

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is set to witness a crowded contest for second-tier positions in its elections, as the party tries to reverse a sharp drop in public support and electoral performance since its shock win at the 2018 national elections.

At the time, it formed the federal government as part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.

Despite Datuk Seri Anwar retaining his party presidency unopposed after last week's nominations, dozens of party leaders are throwing their hat into the ring for key positions as they aim to rejuvenate the party ahead of an election widely anticipated later this year.

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Umno's backing for PM Ismail may lead to 'all-out showdown' between factions

Umno's sudden announcement last week proposing that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob continue leading Malaysia if it wins the next general election, widely expected this year, does not mark the end of intrigue in the ruling party.

Rather, it is akin to hearing the bell signalling the start of the final stretch in a contest that could make or break the careers of the top brass in the grand old party.

The tussle for predominance in Umno between its two main factions - president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's, dubbed "PWTC" after the location of the party's headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, and Datuk Seri Ismail's, referred to as "Putrajaya" as it is made up mostly of leaders with government positions based in the administrative capital - had already reached fever pitch by the time the party's Supreme Council drew some kind of line under the matter with its April 14 statement.

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Malaysia's PAS still torn between siding with PN and Umno

With the rebound of Umno's political fortunes following strong state electoral victories in Melaka and Johor, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) is continuing to back Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, with the Islamist party facing the possibility of losing its kingmaker status in the next general election.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said last week that he fully supported Umno's decision to stick with Datuk Seri Ismail as prime minister if it wins the next general election.

However, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said the party need not rush to support a prime minister candidate until after the election, giving rise to speculation that the party is divided on its support for Umno.

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