Political heat will rise next year, say pundits

Pakatan Harapan will continue to be split in their support for Mahathir and Anwar, says an analyst.

PETALING JAYA: If you thought 2020 was an exciting year in politics, just wait till next year. Things are going to get much hotter, say political pundits.

Malaysians can accept a lot more “drama” from politicians as they set out to woo voters in anticipation of the general election, political analyst Azmi Hassan said.

“The year 2020 will be nothing compared to next year. Politicians will shift into full gear to upstage each other.

“There will not be a quiet moment, that’s for sure,” he told FMT.

Azmi Hassan.

Azmi, who retired recently from Universiti Teknologi Mara said Umno, PPBM and PAS would continue to fight for the winnable seats in the general election.

He said the governing coalition which has a razor thin majority will continue to face internal conflict and a volatile environment as Umno, PAS and PPBM try to jostle with one another in the Perikatan Nasional coalition.

Another analyst Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Malaysians can expect continuous “political drama” from both sides of the divide.

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will try to work with Pakatan Harapan but without endorsing opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister.

Perikatan Nasional, on the other hand, will attempt to reward politicians to jump ship to consolidate their position, said Awang Azman.

Awang Azman Pawi.

He said PH would continue to be split in their support for Mahathir and Anwar and “it may come back to a Mahathir vs Anwar saga as to who would be the next prime minister.”

As for PN, he said the relationship between Umno, PPBM and PAS may turn sour as they discuss seat allocation. A lot of infighting is also likely as Umno members disagree on giving in to PPBM.

“Tensions will flare between them,” he said, adding that the topic of statutory declarations among MPs will likely crop up again with politicians throwing their support for a prime minister candidate.

“Politicians will face the pressure of GE and this will be felt by the rakyat,” he added.

The governing coalition will also face the heat as people continue to reel from the impact of Covid-19, the slowing economy and increasing number of jobless graduates, added Awang Azman.

“The cost of living will be higher and people will remain uncertain on steps to take to curb this. The rakyat will be concerned about jobs, while retailers worry about businesses,” he said.

Sivamurugan Pandian.

Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia also said the political drama of 2020 will spill over into 2021, but with greater intensity.

“We will see politicians trying to create a negative perception about their opponents, and questioning the legitimacy of the present government,” he said.

“With its razor-thin majority, the present government may face a lot of conflicts,” he said.

Due to that, he said the best way forward in 2021 would be to have the polls so the country can move forward from the present political environment.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin survived Budget 2021 last week with a slim three-vote majority.

Umno, with 39 MPs, had in September threatened to pull out of the government if Muhyiddin’s party failed to treat them as equal partners by giving them crucial ministerial positions.

They were eyeing the deputy prime minister’s post and crucial ministerial portfolios.

In February this year, the sudden collapse of Pakatan Harapan saw PN taking over Putrajaya with MPs jumping ship to prove their loyalty to either Muhyiddin or Anwar.

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