The former chairman of the backbenchers’ club has dismissed those who question the brand name of the current government, saying it is still a Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration, only led now by a prime minister from Barisan Nasional (BN).
Shahidan Kassim, who led the PN Back Benchers Club (PNBBC) in the previous administration under Muhyiddin Yassin, said the matter had been unnecessarily turned into an issue, adding that it should not be made fodder for polemics.
Shahidan, who has since been appointed as the federal territories minister, said the present government was still a PN administration, only led by BN instead of Bersatu.
“Why is this not a PN government? This is a BN-led government that is currently in PN,” the Perlis Umno strongman told MalaysiaNow.
Shahidan also said there was no need for such a debate.
“For me, there are no polemics. These were created by some to be turned into a debate.”
Ismail’s leadership has the support of 50 PN MPs, followed by 40 from BN, largely made up of Umno MPs, and GPS with 18 MPs, as well as several independents.
Last week, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who alongside Najib Razak led a campaign to topple Muhyiddin, said the current government should be referred as the “Malaysian government” or “Malaysian Family”.
He said this was because the government was made up through a “loose cooperation” between BN, PN, GPS and other parties.
The “Malaysian Family” was a phrase used by Ismail Sabri Yaakob in his maiden speech as prime minister.
In his speech, he said he had wanted to lower the political temperature in line with the call by the palace.
Zahid’s statement came on the heels of Ismail’s announcement of his Cabinet members which largely maintained the format introduced by Muhyiddin, in addition to a majority of the former ministers.
Almost none of the MPs aligned with Zahid were made part of the Cabinet, with the post of four senior ministers distributed among those from Bersatu, GPS and Umno.
Shahidan meanwhile said that a new chairman would be appointed for PNBBC.
“We will choose a new chairman, but for now nothing has changed. This doesn’t need to be made into polemics if at the moment people are saying that this is not a PN government,” he added.