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'Meeting fails to warm ties between Hadi and Muhyiddin'
Published on: Friday, February 23, 2024
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'Meeting fails to warm ties between Hadi and Muhyiddin'
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin (right) and PAS president Hadi Awang met at the former prime minister’s residence in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 14. (Muhyiddin Yassin Facebook pic)
PETALING JAYA: PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang met with his Bersatu counterpart Muhyiddin Yassin recently but the cosying up seems to have failed to smooth things over between the two.

“It was just for show,” said a source familiar with the matter.

“The fact is that the problem (between the two leaders) has not been resolved,” the source told FMT.

PAS and Bersatu, together with Gerakan, form the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition.

The Valentine’s Day tête-à-tête was followed by a coalition meeting the following day.

Muhyiddin is chairman of the opposition coalition while Hadi is his deputy.

Ties between Muhyiddin and Hadi turned cold after the former reversed his decision to not defend his position at the next party polls due this year.

A source told FMT this scuttled PAS’s plan to push its vice-president Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar as the PN candidate for the post of prime minister in the next general election.

The source said Muhyiddin’s about-turn at the Bersatu general assembly was seen as an attempt by the Pagoh MP to hang on to the PN chairmanship in the hope of returning as prime minister.

Muhyiddin was sworn in as the country’s eighth chief executive in February 2020. He stepped down in August the following year to make way for Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The source observed that Muhyiddin and Hadi have not shared the same stage since the PAS muktamar in October last year.

Another source also pointed out that Hadi has not attended any PN leadership meeting “for a long time”.

However, the source was quick to stress that the lukewarm relationship between Hadi and Muhyiddin has not affected support for PN.

“For voters, internal struggles are not something that have resulted in diminished support for PN,” he said.

“There are stronger factors that have made these voters reject the unity government,” the source added.

In dismissing talks of a rift, Muhyiddin’s former private secretary Marzuki Mohamad pointed out that the former PM had promoted Samsuri as a future prime minister when campaigning for him ahead of last year’s Kemaman parliamentary by-election.

Muhyiddin was reported to have said on Nov 5 that PN wanted to field Samsuri in Kemaman to highlight the Terengganu mentri besar’s capabilities as a prime ministerial candidate.

He stated that this was a strategic move by the coalition to showcase its best leaders.

To explain Hadi’s absence from PN meetings after the PAS muktamar, Marzuki pointed out that the leader was undergoing medical treatment.

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man also dismissed talks of frosty ties between Muhyiddin and Hadi, stressing that the two leaders are “very close”.

He told FMT on Feb 2 that there was no question over Muhyiddin’s position as PN’s prime ministerial candidate, quashing claims that the Islamic party wants Samsuri to be the coalition’s choice for the top job.

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