A member of the Bersatu, the party of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, called for a review of political ties with the Democratic Action Party, sending the ruling coalition the Pakatan Harapan into deep chaos.
The call from Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen is a personal response to a DAP member who said Pakatan Harapan could form the government without Bersatu, but it has wider implications, showing growing mistrust among ruling coalition members.
Ronnie Liu, a DAP member suggested throwing the Bersatu out of the coalition after reports surfaced that two members of Dr Mahathir’s party were working in the shadows to bring the Umno in the coalition and to throw the DAP and Amanah out.
The Amanah is a splinter group from the Islamists PAS and has been an ally with the Pakatan since then. The DAP is allied to the parties in the Pakatan formed by Anwar Ibrahim, the PM-to-be since the early days of the reformasi movement which was started by Anwar in 1998.
Bersatu is the newest member of Pakatan, which was called the Pakatan Rakyat in the past but changed its name to Pakatan Harapan after Dr Mahathir joined the then opposition coalition.
The reported attempts to break the Pakatan and throw some parties out is said to be part of a wider plot to prevent Anwar Ibrahim from becoming the eighth PM of Malaysia.
Anwar’s own party, the Justice Party is also divided on who should be the next PM with some top members who are also ministers preferring Dr Mahathir against their own leader.
Justice Party deputy president Azmin Ali, who is still battling a gay-sex allegation, recently renewed his views that Dr Mahathir should remain in power for a full term, denying the existence of a ‘deal’ that Anwar should become PM by next year.
He said there is no such deal written or otherwise in a blow to Anwar’s bid to become PM.
The DAP central executive committee member Liu had cautioned Dr Mahathir against Bersatu making decisions which were not in line with Pakatan Harapan values.
He said DAP with the Justice Party, Amanah, Parti Warisan Sabah and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation (Upko) have enough seats in Parliament to form a majority without Bersatu.
But with Anwar’s party divided, that may not be possible, observers said.
Some Justice Party members like Azmin may jump ship to Bersatu if an attempt is made to kick Dr Mahathir’s party out of the ruling coalition.
Liu said Pakatan is moving ahead with a multiracial agenda, but Dr Mahathir was instead pursuing the Barisan Nasional model of having a dominant Malay-based party controlling the coalition.
Anwar alluded to a plot headed by ex-PM Najib Razak’s cousin Hishamuddin Hussein, ex-Defence Minister, to bring more Umno members to join Dr Mahathir’s party.
If that happens, Anwar’s chances to become PM will be limited as the numbers game is salient in the political power play in Malaysia. -/TISG