Despite handshake, pundits say Najib-Muhyiddin fight will rage on beyond Umno

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 — The bitter fight between Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his estranged deputy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is far from over despite the conciliatory exchange between the duo at the end of the party’s recent general assembly, political analysts said.

The political observers noted that the two men at the top of the country’s largest political party have taken stands they cannot recant, on issues beyond Umno’s interests in which their resolve will be tested, although for now, Muhyiddin appears to be the underdog.

“From the start of the the assembly until the end, Najib has made it clear that he would not be stepping down.

“And this is the challenge for Muhyiddin; he has to decide on whether he wants to try to toe the party line and get back into Umno’s politics or leave and formally challenge Najib,” Prof Shamsul Adabi Mamat from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia told Malay Mail Online when contacted.

However, he noted that should Muhyiddin remain in Umno, he may not garner much internal support and would additionally continue to be barred from taking an active role in the mainstream politics of the party.

“The leadership crisis is as much a test for Muhyiddin as much as it is for Najib,” the political analyst said.

Muhyiddin, who lost his deputy prime minister position during a federal Cabinet reshuffle in July, was also barred from addressing delegates at the recent 69th Umno general assembly, which broke with custom in which the party deputy president officiates the meetings of the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings.

The assembly ended Saturday with Najib offering an olive branch to dissenters within the party, noting that the refusal would result in them not only going up against him as president, but the entire party.

With Muhyiddin blocked from speaking through official party platforms, some political observers conceded that the Johor-born’s influence within Umno may wane as time passes, even with the backing of party elder Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, mainly because of a culture of obedience to the incumbent chief.

But Centre for Policy Initiatives director Dr Lim Teck Ghee said the leadership fallout in Umno will not end in the immediate future even though Najib holds power as its sitting president.

He grounded his view on the unanswered questions raised by Muhyiddin concerning 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and the RM2.6 billion political donation that Najib has acknowledged he received in his personal bank accounts.

Despite handshake, pundits say Najib-Muhyiddin fight will rage on beyond Umno
December 15, 2015 – MMO


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