MALAYSIA: Muhyiddin Yassin, the opposition leader of Malaysia, announced on Friday (24 Nov) his intention to step down from the presidency of his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU).
Presently, BERSATU specifically represents the Malay community and is a major component party within the opposition bloc, Perikatan Nasional (PN).
During the annual meeting of his party, the former Malaysian Prime Minister conveyed his decision not to contest his current position as party president in the upcoming internal leadership elections slated for the end of next year.
“I will not contest the position of President in the party election scheduled to be held before the end of next year, the date of which will be determined by the Supreme Leadership Council.”
“This decision of mine is made to allow the next generation of BERSATU leaders to take over the party leadership through the democratic process practised by our party,” added Muhyiddin, who is also the chairman of the PN.
While addressing the assembly, the 76-year-old leader urged the delegates to embrace change, stating, “It is time to let go.”
Amidst protests from some delegates, the chairman intervened, urging calm among the attendees.
Among those present during the assembly were prominent figures such as Bersatu’s vice-president, Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin; Datuk Seri D. Ronald Kiandee; the secretary-general, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin; Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal, the chief of Armada; as well as Datuk Seri Rina Mohd Harun, the chief of Srikandi, accompanied by her deputy, Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin, among other attendees.
Additionally, Pas’s deputy president, Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, and the secretary-general, Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, were also in attendance at the assembly.
Muhyiddin, who serves as the Member of Parliament for Pagoh, emphasized the importance of discussions within the supreme council to ensure that experienced figures within the party are accommodated in future leadership roles, describing this process as crucial for the party’s future effectiveness.
“(And) as this is the last time I will be standing as a president during the AGM, I would like to apologise to all party leaders and members for any mistakes done as the president.
“My only message and hope is for the leaders to take good care of this party.”
Muhyiddin says BERSATU needs diverse leadership beyond his tenure
Later, during a press conference, Muhyiddin affirmed his decision not to contest for the position.
“I have thought about this thoroughly and I am not new in politics. However, I realise that the party cannot only depend on me, as we have other leaders that of caliber enough (to lead the party).”
“It is not an issue of whether my resignation is accepted or not because I did not resign, ” he said, as reported by the new Straits Times.
“I will still be the president until after the election and like I said in my speech, I want all leaders who take over my position to sit down, discuss and negotiate to ensure that the party is not divided, even after I am not the president anymore.”
When asked about his future in politics, Muhyiddin indicated that he would fulfil his responsibilities as the president until the next party election.
“Indirectly, this means that I will not be active (in politics) but will remain with Bersatu.”
“(And) I am still with Bersatu, I still have a year left as the president and I am only giving an early notice (of not defending my post).”
“As long as I am the president, I have my responsibilities, I will do what is necessary as a president like what I have been doing since the birth of the party.”
From Najib’s right-hand man to Malaysia’s 8th PM
From 2009 to 2015, Muhyiddin served as Najib Razak’s right-hand man but was terminated from his position in 2015 after criticizing the government’s handling of the 1MDB scandal.
He then joined a party established by former premier Mahathir Mohamad and helped to overthrow Najib and his party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
Following the “Sheraton Move” in 2020, Muhyiddin led BERSATU to depart from the Pakatan Harapan(PH) coalition and joined forces with Barisan Nasional (BN) and PAS to form a new government coalition, which appointed him as the 8th Prime Minister.
Muhyiddin held the position for 17 months, from 2020 to 2021, during which his government introduced the Jana Wibawa program as a COVID-19 stimulus measure to assist Bumiputera contractors.
Incumbent Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim accused the former government led by Muhyiddin of improperly disbursing billions of dollars in Covid relief funds.
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