In the latest Parliamentary sitting a power struggle appears to be taking place within the Pakatan Harapan and UMNO, the party of ex-PM, Najib Razak appears to have become the kingmaker.
This came to light after Barisan Nasional lawmakers were querying Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister-to-be on his chances to govern Malaysia.
While Anwar revealed there is no fixed date for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit his post, there is an agreement within Pakatan sealed in January 2018 indicating the elderly statesman will stay for one year, or two years maximum.
But Anwar also made some comments that got observers reeling over the role the Umno is playing in the succession plans.
There are indications Dr Mahathir has successfully resisted any timeline for his resignation, and this has turned the Pakatan’s power transition plans into a power struggle.
Anwar revealed the existence of a possible deal between Umno members and some in the Pakatan to support him in his bid to become PM.
He said in Parliament that an agreement was inked in January last year for Dr Mahathir to pass the baton to him but the Umno president Zahid Hamidi did not ‘sign’ the document.
“However, in discussions, there have been talks it is one year and there were also discussions it will be two years maximum… But it is a decision for Harapan leaders, not just me or Langkawi (Mahathir) alone.
“So friends, enough with the perception. For me, it is settled but it is subject to God’s will,” he said.
The local media is questioning what does the Umno and Zahid Hamidi have to do with a succession plan that does not concern them and concerns mainly the Pakatan Harapan?
Recent reports in pro-Umno and pro-Anwar blogs indicate that a deal has been made between some members of Umno and Anwar in the event he needs support in Parliament to prove to the King of Malaysia he holds a majority to govern.
Anwar made the comment during the budget speech debate in Parliament where he was asked to explain on the succession plans.
“But the Umno president didn’t sign it – not didn’t, but not yet,” he said, while bursting into laughter, exposing a possible deal between his group and the Umno wing.
Anwar also said the MP’s from Umno who intend to support him in his bid to become PM should not bow to threats of prosecution.
He urged them not to fear threats of prosecution against them, adding he is aware a former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein (who is related to Najib Razak) was working on a plan.
Reports say Hishammuddin is working his way through Umno to get some MP’s joining the Bersatu, the party of Dr Mahathir. In this event, it means they are not going to support Anwar’s bid to become PM.
There are also indications Umno MP’s from outside peninsula Malaysia are also joining the band-wagon in support of Anwar.
Bung Moktar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan) was told by Anwar, “I hope when Kinabatangan puts down his signature, I hope he signs for this side and not other sides,” revealing there maybe two sides within Umno battling for Anwar as PM or for Dr Mahathir to remain in power.
“This is the problem of wanting to follow the strategy by Sembrong and others. All this is nonsense.
“All this is sometimes for personal survival… to close MACC cases. We don’t want that. Politics should not be about threats, it should be about principles.
“Be it threats of prosecution or imprisonment, one’s principles must not be sacrificed,” he said, prompting a response from Bung Moktar, who is facing graft charges.
Umno’s Mr GST Ahmad Maslan who is the Pontian, Johor MP also entered the debate on Pakatan’s succession plans, saying, “Langkawi (Mahathir) said (he will go) before the 15th general election. He has also said (when interviewed) abroad that (he will go) after major problems are resolved and when the national debt is resolved.
“I am worried that Port Dickson (Anwar) will only become a side prime minister when the matter is executed,” he added.
Anwar also told the Parliament that if he is given the chance, by God, to govern the country he will need the everyone’s support.
He reiterated that there would be no changes to the succession plan.
“I also hope there are no attempts at disruption by the opposition. As is with the guarantee from Kinabatangan – and Bagan Datuk is also nodding – I assume our problem is resolved.”
“I am but an ordinary man who has gone through good and hard times in the last few decades. If it is God’s will that I am to govern, I will need the support of everyone so that this country can develop,” said the PKR president. -/TISG