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Scepticism rising within Pakatan as Anwar yet to show proof of parliamentary majority

KUALA LUMPUR — Confidence in Mr Anwar Ibrahim is shrinking within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, as an increasing number of his allies are openly demanding he show them proof that he has majority support as claimed in September.

Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim is pictured during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on July 13, 2020.

Port Dickson MP Anwar Ibrahim is pictured during the second meeting of the third session of the 14th Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on July 13, 2020.

KUALA LUMPUR — Confidence in Mr Anwar Ibrahim is shrinking within the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, as an increasing number of his allies are openly demanding he show them proof that he has majority support as claimed in September.

Several sources within the Opposition pact, as well as those familiar with its workings, told Malay Mail that disappointment in Mr Anwar is growing.

This is especially after PH sources said Mr Anwar sought “one more week” to prove he commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat after Budget 2021 was tabled last month, and promised to resign as PH chair and Opposition leader if he failed.

Some said that internal fights have broken out between those in Mr Anwar’s closest circle who have been forced to defend the People's Justice Party (PKR) president against others in the party and in PH.

One source who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that Mr Anwar has not been able to get support from the government MPs, including from the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) as previously claimed, adding that this has affected their trust.

“Now the phrase ‘strong, formidable and convincing numbers’ is being joked about even among the Opposition and party allies,” said one source, referencing Mr Anwar’s answer in a September news conference when he was pointedly asked if he had sufficient support.

Malay Mail understands that PH MPs have signed statutory declarations to support Mr Anwar as the next Malaysian Prime Minister.

On Sept 23, Mr Anwar emerged from an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and asserted that he has a “formidable and convincing” majority to form a new federal government as several MPs were switching their allegiances.

However, Istana Negara announced on Oct 13 that Mr Anwar had not presented the names of the MPs he claimed to be backing him but only informed the Malaysian king of the numbers in his camp.

Another source said that some PKR members are calling for the return of their former vice-president Rafizi Ramli who announced a break from politics shortly after Election 2018.

“The return of Rafizi in PKR’s leadership is being engineered by some leaders in the party as they want a fresh approach and strategy,” said the source.

Mr Rafizi broke his self-imposed silence on Sunday (Dec 13) to weigh in on the infighting within PKR.

In a tweet, the former Pandan MP who plotted the “Kajang Move” laughed at the political antics within PKR after a leaked WhatsApp chat discussion revealed internal dissent against Mr Anwar.

Mr Rafizi claimed he had long ago warned Mr Anwar of surrounding himself with “flatterers” after being freed from prison, as they would be a liability that might stymie his ambitions to take Malaysian government if he does nothing.

Fourteen PKR Youth leaders subsequently issued a joint statement on Sunday urging their party colleagues to stay calm and resolve their conflicts through internal channels instead of airing them publicly, inadvertently confirming the leaked message of dissent brewing.

Among Mr Anwar’s detractors were said to be PKR Youth chief Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir, his deputy Thiban Subbramaniam, and wing secretary Mohd Syukri Razab.

Mr Akmal, who is also Johor Bahru MP, has been viewed as a protege of Mr Rafizi ever since he served at Invoke, the think tank started by the latter before GE14.

However, Mr Anwar’s supporters are confident the Port Dickson MP will prove his detractors wrong and make his move this week against the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, even after practically all the ministerial allocations under Budget 2021 have cleared Parliament’s committee stage.

A source familiar with the current political negotiations told Malay Mail that discussions with Umno were being held with individuals rather than the party as a whole.

Those being approached were Umno MPs against working with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Malaysian Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali, who had once been Mr Anwar’s right-hand man in PKR before the latter quit and joined Bersatu.

“The collaboration is not between the parties. That is why in Perak it did not work,” a PKR insider said, referring to PH’s olive branch to Umno in Perak after the coup two weeks ago.

Perak PH leaders from both PKR and DAP openly said they were willing to work with any party to form a new state government, after Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu was toppled as mentri besar through a no-confidence vote in the state assembly triggered by Umno.

A similar tension between Umno and Bersatu is brewing in Johor. However, sources told Malay Mail that Johor PH assemblymen are unlikely to get involved in ousting Mentri Besar Hasni Mohammad, who is from Umno, where a three-seat difference could result in a change of government.

Barisan Nasional commands 16 seats in the Johor assembly while PN — comprising Bersatu and PAS — has 13 and PH has 27. MALAY MAIL

 

 

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Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim Malaysian politics Pakatan Harapan

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