KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claims the Opposition expects to form a new alliance by the end of the year as more Umno members jump ship.
“The party faces declining support and many are not even sure whether Umno can survive the next elections,” the former deputy prime minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
The general election is due by the end of 2018, and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, speaking during a visit to Berlin, Germany, has ruled out bringing it forward.
Muhyiddin did not identify any potential Umno rebels during the first interview, Reuters reported.
He said many Umno leaders keen to join his new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, are uncomfortable with the problems facing Umno.
A Malaysian government spokesman dismissed Muhyiddin’s statement as a ploy to revive his career.
“Muhyiddin has been claiming for over a year that Umno’s leaders, and indeed the Malaysian public, are about to desert the party,” the spokesman told Reuters.
“This has proven to be wishful thinking, with Barisan Nasional winning all three recent elections with landslides, and the party more united than ever.”
Pribumi is chaired by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
His son, former Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, is also a member.
Muhyiddin told Reuters that Opposition leaders realise they need to work together to avoid multi-cornered contests that could split the vote base at the general election.
“I would like to see this pact happen as soon as possible, before the year’s end,” he said.