Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) political analyst Professor Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain says Mukhriz was one of those lined up as future eligible leaders to take over PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak within Umno Youth.
He was ‘selected’ alongside people like Khairy Jamaluddin and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
“But if you are talking about the possibility of Mukhriz taking the spot now, it is not possible as Najib is way stronger than he is especially in this political ties.
“Just look at how he has managed to rid-off people who went against him. How many of the Umno leaders he has managed to eliminate from the party.
“This proves that he is still strong, in command and untouchable. Mukhriz is nowhere near that,” says Ahmad Atory.
He was commenting on the statement by Mukhriz’s former special political officer Haris Che Mat, who is also Kedah Umno’s former executive secretary.
Haris had recently claimed that the former Kedah Mentri Besar had the support of his father, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who wanted to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to pave the way for his son.
According to Haris, the plan began during the Umno elections in 2013 when Mukhriz contested for the post of Umno vice-president.
He also said that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia is merely as a platform for Mukhriz’s political ambitions to become prime minister.
Looking at the political landscape now, Ahmad Atory says that Barisan Nasional (BN) is very weak, and with the unity of Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan, they stand a chance to win the next general election against BN.
“The only way that BN can still win the next general election would be to get Najib to step down. Once he does step down, Bersatu will no longer be valid or useful.
“It might even be a repeat of Semangat 46, where Bersatu would rejoin Umno since the main reason of breaking away was Najib and to serve as a pressure for his resignation.
“That is the only reason why Bersatu if formed, to get rid of Najib. Once he is out of the picture, they will return to Umno and everything will be back to normal.
“Don’t need to talk about the RM2.6 billion, it was never the reason. The problem was always just Najib,” he says.
Ahmad Atory adds that that is BN’s main struggle at the moment as they now have an additional party that is against them who once belonged in the party.
“Bersatu’s leaders are not unknown figures, people have known them and when they left Umno, it left a big dent.
“Mukhriz could be the next prime minister, but even if he does not land there, he would be at least deputy prime minister.
“He is still young and he is still lacking political experiences. If Bersatu wins the next general election, the prime minister spot should be given to Muhyiddin (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) as he is has more experience.
“He also isn’t someone that the public do not know, people can identify with Muhyiddin,” he says.
But if is not Muhyiddin, Ahmad Atory says Mahathir can still make a comeback.
“Look at Canada, if they can reinstate a former premier, Dr Mahathir can do it too. After all, he was the one who ‘appointed’ the leaders after him, he can also appoint himself once again,” he says.
Meanwhile he also says that the Opposition will only win the next general election with the backing of Bersatu.
Pakatan alone has no hope to take over Putrajaya, not at the state the Opposition parties are at, unless if they are united.
“It isn’t the same anymore as before where it was about principles and party ideologies. Today the parties are faced with integrity issues and if the Opposition isn’t united, they don’t stand a chance to face BN,” says Ahmad Atory.
Soo Wern Jun