There is no evidence suggesting that Najib Razak played a key role in UMNO’s decision in withdrawing support from the Yassin government.
Najib Razak, former Prime Minister of Malaysia, lost the elections in 2018 by a considerable margin after being accused in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) scandal. This resulted in Mohamad forming a coalition government. Razak was sentenced to 12 years in prison with a fine of RM210 million for his involvement in the 1MBD scandal, despite pleading not guilty. Razak’s United Malays National Organisation(UMNO) party leader Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was also accused of involvement in the scandal and faced several corruption charges.
After Mohamed won the election in 2018, he formed a coalition government with three parties following a pre-election understanding that he would hand over power to his coalition ally Anwar Ibrahim, reported Asialink. However, in 2020, when Mohamed refused to hand over the prime ministership to Ibrahim, a crisis broke out within his coalition (Pakatan Harapan). In the days that followed, the disgruntled MPs in the coalition parted ways with Harapan resulting in Mohamed’s resignation.
At the time, Yassin was the Minister of Home Affairs under Mahathir’s government who unexpectedly resigned before Mahathir’s resignation. CNBC reported in March 2020 that this step moved the country into political crisis after Yassin pulled his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia or Bersatu out of Mahathir’s coalition and acquired a majority by joining a few other parties, including Razak’s UMNO led by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. However, there is little information on Razak’s role in forming the new coalition government.
In July 2021, the king of Malaysia issued a statement criticizing the Minister of Law for misleading the Parliament and the Attorney General of failing to honor the promise to allow the Parliament to debate the annulment of the emergency ordinances. Following the king’s statement, UMNO announced the withdrawal of support for Yassin, informed Asialink. Associated Press quoted Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, President of UMNO, stating that Yasin's government had not successfully handled the COVID-19 situation in the country. On the other had imposed lockdowns, which resulted in an imbalance in the economy. The UMNO withdrew its support for the government after Yassin announced Defense Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, a member of UMNO lawmaking, as the deputy premier, which seemed like a desperate move to keep UMNO as part of the coalition, as per the report. These events ultimately led Yassin to resign.
Several rumors circulated that Razak and Hamidi influenced the withdrawal following UMNO's withdrawal from the Yassin government. However, they both refuted all such accusations, according to Reuters.
UNMO is a party that has ruled the country for around 60 years in a coalition. Reuters reported that Razak, with his records, holds an excellent public image in Malaysia. In addition, Razak tried to regain trust and power through his involvement in the present Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s government. Razak is a member of the Parliament but is banned from holding the election until the monarch pardons.
In September, Razak was offered by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob the advising role of the government on the economy, reported Strait Times. Yaakob had expressed that Razak was "committed to contributing energy, time and ideas together as a team for our beloved Malaysian family."
There is no conclusive evidence that Razak played a crucial role in taking down the government of Yassin Muhyiddin. Various other leaders were involved in the decision-making process, and several events led to the government's downfall.