Pointless for any MP to jump aboard sinking ship, say analysts

By John Isaac

A POLITICAL scientist sees no chance of the Perikatan Nasional-led administration beefing up its numbers ahead of September’s vote of confidence in Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

“There is no private benefit, let alone public interest, for any MP to join a failing and falling government,” said Wong Chin Huat.

“Now that Muhyiddin is left with the support of only 100 MPs, jumping over may simply condemn an MP to being part of the new opposition.

“Why would anyone sacrifice his political future for short-term gains?”

Wong said any opposition MP joining the government now would likely be rejected by voters in the next general election and sidelined by any new government.

He was commenting on Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah’s denial that she was ditching PKR to join the ruling PN coalition.

He told FMT he believed in Chin’s political integrity and dismissed the rumours as malicious lies to tarnish her reputation and cause distrust.

In the past week, several opposition MPs have claimed they had been approached with offers to jump ship.

This comes amid doubts over Muhyiddin’s majority in Parliament after at least 15 MPs from Umno announced they were withdrawing support for him.

Asked whether he thought the present government could be saved if an Umno leader were to replace Muhyiddin as prime minister, Wong said it was not so simple.

“If Muhyiddin steps down, it is unlikely he can choose his successor like he could have three weeks ago.

“The split in Umno is so deep that it’s unlikely party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi will allow deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri or senior minister Hishammuddin Hussein to take the top post.”

He said this meant Umno would likely want a leader who was not Bersatu-friendly to be its prime minister candidate, adding that this posed a threat to Muhyiddin’s allies.

Wong said Muhyiddin might just decide to stay on and face a confidence vote and resign if he were to lose.

“But if Muhyiddin’s bloc remains the largest after losing the confidence vote and Pakatan Harapan and Umno cannot agree to share power, then it’s not impossible for Muhyiddin to be reappointed PM to lead a minority government.

“It must be stressed that Muhyiddin cannot hope to be a minority PM without first being defeated on the confidence vote.”

Former academic Azmi Hassan said it was hard to imagine any MP jumping ship at this point in time.

“The government simply does not look good in the eyes of the people because of its handling of the pandemic,” he said. “The situation is getting worse and so is the economy.

“So, it will be difficult for any MP to justify crossing over. If they do, they know they will be punished in the next election.”