The Malaysian United Indigenous Party (“PPBM“), under the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin bin Haji Muhammad Yassin, has agreed to be a part of the Muafakat Nasional (“MN“) coalition.[1]

Tan Sri Annuar Musa, the Secretary General of the Barisan Nasional (“BN“) coalition and the Minister of Federal Territories, has stated that MN has agreed in principle regarding PPBM’s wish to join the coalition.[2]

At its inception, MN only consisted of the United Malays National Organisation (“UMNO“) and the Malaysian Islamic Party (“PAS“).[3]

A necessary formality?

PPBM’s joining of MN appears to be mere formality as PPBM, UMNO, PAS, and a host of parties from Sabah and Sarawak informally formed the Perikatan Nasional (“PN”) federal government.

The PN federal government, however, even with the inclusion of UMNO and PAS, only have a precarious 2-3 seats majority in the House of Representatives.[4]

When UMNO announced that it would not become part of PN should the informal coalition be registered,[5] it then became necessary for PPBM to formally align itself with UMNO and PAS in order to remain a part of the federal government .

PPBM is the weakest of the three.

It cannot be disputed that PAS & UMNO have strong grassroots support.[6] The same, however, cannot be said about PPBM.[7]

PPBM, being a relatively new national party, experienced exponential growth in its first few years largely due to Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad (“Tun M”).

Tun M, a seasoned politician and a former Prime Minister, commands great respect and support amongst the masses.

When Tun M left PPBM, an exodus soon ensued.[8] Since his departure from PPBM, Tun M has announced the setting up of the Party of Homeland’s Fighters (“PEJUANG“).[9]

Various PPBM branches have since been dissolved due to lack of members.[10]

PPBM will likely lose out when it comes to seat negotiations

In PH, PPBM played UMNO’s role in BN. However, in MN, PPBM targets the same voter base as UMNO and to a large extent, PAS.

In view of its weaker grassroots support, PPBM does not have the upper hand when it comes to seat negotiations.

In addition, in the 14th General Election (“GE14”), PPBM’s Members of Parliament (“MPs”) contested as a member of the PH coalition under the People’s Justice Party (“PKR”)’s banner.[11] Since then, much has changed.

In the event PPBM MPs are fielded in the same constituency, newer MPs may not succeed in retaining their seats.[12]

There were also three way (or more) fights in certain seats because BN and PAS were still opposing one another. If MN were to agree to field a single candidate, PPBM will likely have to be the one to give way.

For example, in GE14, Datuk Seri Rina binti Mohd Harun, the current Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, contested in the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat and obtained 23,840 votes.[13] Her opponent from BN obtained 19,701 votes while her opponent from PAS obtained 6,845 votes.

In the context of the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat, UMNO is be able to put forth a strong case that its candidate should be fielded as MN’s sole candidate in the 15th General Election seeing as they have greater support there compared to PPBM (who relied on votes by PH’s supporters) and PAS.

Taking into account all of the above, PPBM’s decision to leave PH and join forces with UMNO and PAS may be the cause of its downfall.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared on The Malaysian Insight and Puon Tribune.


[1] “PPBM agrees to join Muafakat Nasional.” FMT News. Accessed August 15, 2020.

[2] “Muafakat Nasional says ‘yes’ to PPBM.” FMT News. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[3] Hasnoor Hussain, “The Umno-PAS ‘new deal’.” The Malaysian Insight. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[4] Jerry Choong, “Perikatan govt majority falls to two after Sarawak MP Masir Kujat insists still part of Opposition bloc.” Malay Mail. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[5] Sharanjit Singh, “In shock announcement, Umno spurns Perikatan Nasional [NSTTV].” New Straits Times. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[6] Evidenced e.g. by the high turnouts in rallies organised by UMNO and/or PAS [e.g. the Anti-ICERD rally (see Veena Babulal, “Anti ICERD rally starts and ends peacefully.” New Straits Times. Accessed August 16, 2020.]

[7] A fact admitted by Johor UMNO deputy chief [see Minderjeet Kaur, “Be realistic on seat demand, Umno leader tells PPBM.” FMT News. Accessed August 16, 2020.]

[8] E.g. see Afiq Aziz, “More Bersatu members leave for Dr Mahathir.” The Malaysian Reserve. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[9] “Dr Mahathir’s new party now known as ‘Pejuang’.” The Edge Markets. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[10] Wani Muthiah and Zakiah Koya, “Bersatu divisions in Selangor calling it quits.” TheStar. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[11] “Pakatan to use PKR logo for general election.” FMT News. Accessed August 16, 2020.

[12] E.g. in the Alor Gajah parliamentary seat, Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof won by a majority of 6,980 votes. Assuming the votes are maintained along coalition lines, PH’s candidate could defeat MN’s candidate even if the latter is the incumbent himself.

[13] “Federal Territories.” TheStar GE14. Accessed August 16, 2020.