PETALING JAYA: The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) elections is set to be a mouth-watering affair with Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir challenging Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the party president’s post.

Another relative unknown in the party, Cheras division deputy chief Mohd Faiz Azlee Sham, will also contest the position, it was confirmed yesterday.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, meanwhile, will remain as the party’s chairman at the post was uncontested.

Bersatu elections committee chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said this in a press conference after nomination closed at 3pm today.

However, he said the party polls, which was supposed to be held on April 18 at the division level, has been postponed until at least June 30, after the Registrar of Societies ordered all party meetings and conventions to be suspended in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The party’s supreme council members will decide and finalise on a new date,” he said.

Hamid said all nominated individuals would also be screened to ensure they were qualified to contest, while also urging all candidates to practise a clean and fair campaign and not resort to money politics.

The contest for party presidency comes amidst growing cracks in the party, with one faction supposedly led by Muhyiddin and the other by Mahathir and his son Mukhriz, who is the incumbent party deputy president.

This comes following a political crisis that saw Muhyiddin leading Bersatu out of Pakatan Harapan (PH) to form a new government with Perikatan Nasional.

The move, however, was not endorsed by Mahathir, who with several others, decided to remain with PH.

Other than the president’s post, the deputy presidency will also see a three-cornered fight with party secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya taking on Perak Mentri Besar and state Bersatu chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu and Selangor deputy Youth chief Anas Akashah Nazri.

Interestingly, Marzuki’s name was nominated by Mukhriz and seconded by Mahathir.

The vice-president post will also see 15 people contesting for three positions, among the prominent names include Education Minister Radzi Jidin, party supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof and former Umno leader Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee.

PKR defectors Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin’s names were nowhere to be seen as Bersatu’s constitution stipulates that a person has to be a party member for at least a year before they can contest for positions.

Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman will defend his position as Youth chief against his former special officer Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal and Bersatu Youth exco member Mohd Muzammil Ismail.

Datuk Seri Rina Rahun will also defend her Women’s chief post against three others.

In an immediate response, political analyst Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Mukhriz’s decision to challenge Muhyiddin for president would be a do-or-die for the former.

“If Mukhriz loses, he will lose it all, but if he wins he will be able to forge a new direction for Bersatu.

“For Muhyddin, he is confident that he has the upperhand including support from the grassroots members as he is the president.

“Although the situation looks like it favours Muhyddin, there is also the presence of Mahathir in support of Mukhriz,” Awang told theSun, adding this would be a test of Mahathir’s influence in the party.

Awang, however, pointed out that there could be a different outcome altogether should the leaders negotiate and decide to withdraw their candidacy.

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