Snap Insight: Muhyiddin’s prosecution puts focus on sentiment among the country’s dominant Malays

The latest twist to Malaysia’s already volatile politics is set to raise temperatures in the coming days. The opposition, which has slammed the corruption campaign against the Bersatu leaders as selective prosecution by the new Anwar administration, has signalled that it would raise public support against the government with prayer gatherings and protests.

Anwar, who has made the crackdown on widespread corruption the central plank of his administration, has dismissed allegations that the moves against Bersatu were politically motivated.

Close advisors to Anwar also noted that the investigations and the charges slapped against the Bersatu by the MACC and the Attorney General were carried out by the heads in the two agencies appointed by the Muhyiddin government previously.

The big test will come in a couple of months’ time when six states, including the three controlled by PAS, will hold simultaneous elections for their respective state assemblies, a vote that is fast shaping up into a referendum on the Anwar government.

PH is hoping to retain control in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang in the coming state elections and woo support away from PAS with the help of UMNO in the Malay belt states.

An outcome that will maintain the status quo will be neutral for Anwar’s political prestige. But any serious electoral setback in the states where the PH currently governs would raise serious questions over Anwar’s legitimacy as prime minister.

Leslie Lopez is a senior correspondent at CNA Digital who reports on political and economic affairs in the region.

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