Muhyiddin indictment a signal to global business community of Malaysia’s corruption clampdown: Analysts
One reason for Bersatu’s strong showing in last November’s general election was their success at portraying themselves as the corrupt-free party, said Dr Chin.
UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is currently still facing outstanding graft charges.
By charging them at this particular moment, it makes it harder for Muhyiddin and his party to claim that they are cleaner than those in government, said Dr Chin.
How voters eventually swing would depend on factors such as the evidence presented in court to dismiss the allegations of political persecution, said Dr Wong.
Voters will also be looking out for any instances of double standards for government party politicians in similar situations, he added, and whether the government takes this further in trying to suppress the opposition.
“If this is seen as just vengeance against the opposition, it would backfire on the government. The Malay middle-ground voters would more likely give him sympathy votes,” said Dr Wong.
Such a development would give the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition a boost in the three states currently held by Mr Anwar’s coalition – Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan.
Dr Wong also noted that “Malaysia’s Attorney-General’s Chambers has not had a very good record of being impartial”.
“The question here is what would happen next in other cases like the warship scandal that involves UMNO leaders,” he said. “Would there be the same seriousness of prosecution on those involved?”
Muhyiddin is likely to remain as a Member of Parliament and as leader of the PN coalition, as he remains the best person to hold the parties together, said Dr Wong.