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Friday, August 19, 2022

Bersatu needs DPM post to be relevant, powerful - analysts


Bersatu needs the deputy prime minister position to prove it is still relevant and “powerful” in the Ismail Sabri Yaakob-led government.

This is as its president, Muhyiddin Yassin, is no longer at the top spot in Putrajaya, said political analysts.

Political observer and geostrategist Azmi Hassan opined that Bersatu needs the position to prove to grassroots members that they still have influence over the prime minister.

“Bersatu does not really want the position but it intends to show to their supporters they can influence and pressure the prime minister who is from Umno.

“They were disappointed as the prime minister seems to have ignored their requests in (Plantation Industries and Commoddities Minister) Zuraida Kamaruddin’s case.

“This serves as an opportunity for them to pressure the premier to satisfy their demands,” said Azmi, who is also a Nusantara Strategic Research Academy senior fellow.

He, however, warned that such a strategy could easily backfire because the appointment of a deputy prime minister is not seen as important at the moment.

“This is meaningless to the people and they do not demand the position, especially when (they are feeling the effect) of the high cost of living and inflation,” he said.

The tussle for the deputy prime minister’s post erupted after Bersatu claimed the position belonged to them. Muhyiddin (above) claimed the matter was settled in an agreement inked between the prime minister and Bersatu.

On July 28, Perikatan Nasional (PN) voiced disappointment towards the prime minister, saying he failed to fulfil certain terms in their purported agreement.

‘Won’t disappear from political radar’

Yesterday, PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin confirmed the coalition submitted a letter seeking an official meeting with Ismail Sabri to discuss several issues.

Asked if PN would address the deputy prime minister post in the meeting, Hamzah said he would bring up all requests made by PN.

Some leaders in PN, however, differed from Bersatu leaders who demanded the deputy premier post. PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang said the position is not a necessity now.

Universiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) research fellow Awang Azman Awang Pawi said the position is important as Bersatu needs to sustain its political momentum after Muhyiddin stepped down.

“By holding the position, it means Bersatu will not disappear from the political radar especially when Muhyiddin is no longer the prime minister.

“With this, Bersatu can organise their movement to garner more support and they can show they have an influence in determining the direction of the country.

“The issue would not arise if Ismail Sabri did not agree to a secret pact. So, Bersatu felt this is the best timing to demand Ismail Sabri to honour the terms according to the agreement,” Awang Azman said.

Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Muhammad Faiz Na'aman said Ismail Sabri has the discretion to decide on the deputy prime minister post.

“The issue has been discussed at length and plenty of comments and statements made by Bersatu leadership as published by media.

“Now, let the prime minister make a decision according to his discretion,” he said. - Mkini

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