While the Slim by election was a moral boost to the governing coalition, the growing sibling rivalry between Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional are also becoming more visible.
Bearing in mind that the by-election was won by BN, Perikatan Nasional as a coalition remain as the bystander, with lesser share of voice than the growing strength of BN, particularly that of UMNO.
BN had previously won the by-elections in Cameron Highlands, Semenyih, Rantau, Tanjung Piai, Kimanis and Chini.
Now, with 7 parliamentary and state seat victory out of 12, the growing confidence of Barisan Nasional will be a threat towards Perikatan Nasional, especially as UMNO has announced that it will not join the coalition, last month.
Zahid Hamidi had previously stated that his party is not a component party of the alliance – PN – although it remains a part of the coalition. This creates uncertainty on the stance of UMNO in the political scene. He was reportedly saying that his party will not be joining the PN, while remaining in MN.
Meanwhile, Barisan Nasional’s secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa had recently appeared on the same stage as all other representatives of the Perikatan Nasional parties (PAS, Bersatu, MCA, MIC) during the Slim by-election campaign, hinting that his party UMNO is formally under the PN coalition.
However, Zahid Hamidi’s “continued silence” on UMNO’s position in the political arena reflects a lack of cooperation and understanding inside Perikatan Nasional.
The conflicting narrative may stem from the rivalry between the main party in BN (UMNO) and PN (PPBM). PPBM was known as the splinter party of UMNO. Out of the seven seats won by BN in the by-election, two seats – Semenyih and Tanjung Piai – were taken back from PPBM. BN took over both seats with significant number of majority votes, in thousands.
Despite holding federal power, Perikatan Nasional led by Muhyiddin Yassin lack political gravitas to convince other parties to join its arrangement. The majority of PN government parties are happy being part of the government but prefer their own independence and allies in an electoral arrangement.
As such, instead of convincing others to join its coalition, PPBM is the one that venture into Muafakat Nasional as announced last month.