BATU PAHAT, Nov 12 — Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appeared confident today that Barisan Nasional (BN) will not win enough seats to win federal power, forcing Umno to negotiate with other parties in a bid to form a coalition government.
That coalition, he suggested before a few hundred supporters here, will likely be Pakatan Harapan. Muhyiddin then said voting for BN would by default be a vote for the DAP, a party the Bersatu president has accused of being anti-Malay.
"He said he doesn’t want to collude with the PN because of Bersatu. So that means he would rather collude with who? He rejected the effort by PAS top leadership to bring the 'ummah' together," he said, referring to Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
"So that is why they've admitted they can't win and they need to form a coalition government. And since he can't collude with the PN, who does he want to collude with? PH ladies and gentlemen.
"And ladies and gentlemen, you know who is in PH? The DAP,” the PN chairman added.
The DAP is a PH component member led predominantly by ethnic Chinese. It has become increasingly multiethnic, with many Malays filling key posts within its ranks and is fielding several Malay candidates in this election.
Because of its racial composition, the party is often depicted by rivals as a Chinese chauvinist outfit.
Muhyiddin has appeared to steal a page from rivals Umno's playbook by making the DAP a bogeyman as the central theme to his campaign message.
In Kampung Raja, Pagoh, where he spoke before a close-knit community rallied by the local PN machinery before heading towards Batu Pahat, Muhyiddin claimed the DAP is a party that has a notorious track record for opposing Malay interests.
The PN chairman repeated the same allegation here as addressed Batu Pahat voters and in the presence of its incumbent Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon, who won the highly multiracial seat on a PH ticket in the 14th general election.
The Batu Pahat electorate, close to a hundred thousand in 2018, was equally split between Malay voters and ethnic Chinese and Indians. Most voters of the latter two communities are known to be pro-PH, which makes Muhyiddin's attack against the DAP tactically odd.
Mohd Rashid, who defected from PKR to Bersatu as part of a coup that ended PH rule prematurely, is bidding to remain as Batu Pahat MP in a five-way fight against PH's Onn Abu Bakar and BN's Ishak Siraj, Zahari Osman from Parti Rakyat Malaysia and Pejuang's Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir.
Muhyiddin claims there has been a significant swing in Malay support towards his coalition as the campaign trail reaches midpoint, with the community now looking at PN as the viable Malay-based alternative to the Umno-led BN because its leaders are perceived as corruption-free.
The view appeared to be supported by pollster Merdeka Center, whose director Ibrahim Suffian said there could be a swing in Malay votes towards PN.
Muhyiddin is defending Pagoh in what could be his last term as a federal lawmaker.