With Muhyiddin Yassin departure, who will step up to lead the opposition alliance and take the helm of Bersatu ?

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FILE PHOTO: Malaysian opposition leader and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during an interview at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia July 27, 2023. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain/File photo

Malaysias former Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Friday his plan to step down as the president of his party next year. This has sparked speculation, about the leadership of the opposition alliance, which is predominantly Malay.

The Arguments

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahims progressive and diverse coalition attracts minorities and urban Malays while Muhyiddins party, known as PN has gained support from Malays and young voters.

In the diverse country of Malaysia, where ethnic-Malay Muslims make up over 60% of the population and significant minorities are composed of ethnic Indians and Chinese, Muhyiddin’s decision not to seek re-election as party president could have a significant impact on the political landscape.

The departure of Muhyiddin could potentially weaken PN by eliminating one of its leaders with a broad appeal/personality. Political analyst Bridget Welsh, from the University of Nottingham Malaysia highlighted that without Muhyiddin, Bersatu might lose its influence and face internal conflicts.

The Facts

Muhyiddin has been the president of Bersatu since its establishment in 2016. Besides leading Bersatu he also heads the Perikatan Nasional (PN) opposition bloc.

Under the leadership of Muhyiddin the PN has made progress among the majority ethnic Malay Muslims in elections held in August. This success builds upon their achievements in the years election.

During Bersatu’s party meeting Muhyiddin announced to his party members that he will not be seeking re-election, for the position of party president next year. In his speech he expressed that it is time for him to pass on the leadership responsibility, to a team of leaders.

Political analysts speculate that Hamzah Zainuddin, currently serving as the party’s secretary is likely to become the president of Bersatu and succeed Muhyiddin.

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