Dispute for leadership in Malaysian ruling party before elections

Singapore, Nov 2 (EFE).- The leadership dispute between current Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and ruling party President Ahmad Zahid, in tightening ahead of the Nov. 19 election, making it difficult to end a political crisis of more than two years.

The tension was clear Tuesday night, when Zahid, president of the United Malays National Organization, presented the electoral list of candidates of the Barisan Nasional, a coalition it leads, removing eight ministers and deputy ministers allied with Ismail, according to The Star newspaper

This calls into question Zahid’s decision of not wanting to be appointed prime minister to win the Barisan Nasional elections, as expected, and give his support to Ismail to continue in office.

This is the first time the party would attend the electoral appointment with its vice president, Ismail, and not Zahid, as a candidate for prime minister.

If both dispute the position, due to their differences when calling the electoral appointment, which Zahid decided to anticipate – he had a margin until September 2023 – against Ismail’s opinion, the formation of the government would be delayed, making it difficult to achieve political stability.

There is hope that elections will put an end to the political crisis in which the country has been immersed since 2020, when then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad resigned, after he seized power for the first time in history from the UMNO under the Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition in 2018.

Malaysia, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1957, has since had three prime ministers, the last two again from UMNO.

More than 20 million Malaysians are called to elect a new government in elections in which the 222 seats in parliament will be disputed and which are expected to be close, with three coalitions in contention.

These are the ruling Barisan Nasional; Pakatan Harapan, headed by the eternal candidate for office, Anwar Ibrahim; and Perikatan Nasional, chaired by former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

The elections are being held under the shadow of corruption in the ranks of UMNO, with former prime minister and party leader Najib Razak, serving 12 years in prison for his involvement in the multi-million embezzlement of the state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, key in his electoral defeat in 2018. EFE


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