PH: Game of Thrones begins

Image from The Straits Times

By Youth Connect Team

Nine months after Pakatan Harapan's euphoric victory in the general election, the Malaysian political landscape has now returned to the one we all know just too well.

The factions are back - so too are the backroom deals and horse tradings.

Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has re-emerged - to the extent that the former Prime Minister is seen as the sole opposition to the government and seemingly forcing the PH government to back-pedal every now and then.

It looks like the re-awakening of BN aka Umno aka Najib has reopened many old wounds that were hastily plastered before GE14.

Among the notable feuds now are the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim; Rafizi Ramli and Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali; and along with the never ending PAS and PH feud.

While most of them deny any such feuds, it is just too clear that all is not well with the fragile coalition.

As for Tun M and Anwar ... it looks like the bad blood between them since their Umno days is still there.

Tun M became the PM on the promise that it will be for only two years before handing over the reins. However, doubts have been cast on whether this agreement will actually be upheld.

There have been calls for Tun M to serve out his term while others say the two year agreement was not cast in stone. Also the issue of who will succeed Tun M to be the eight PM.

The natural choice is of course Anwar but then it looks like some others are also eyeing it.

Why should PAS support Tun M?

The recent PAS statement that it will support Tun M in a vote of no confidence has certainly created a major upheaval in the political circles.

Why did PAS make such a statement just days after its top leadership met Tun M, in the wake of the RM90 million that was allegedly received from Najib?

This was set tongues wagging on numerous theories.

Among them is that Tun M has managed to corner PAS and they in return have promised their support in the vote.

But why the talk about the vote now? Something must surely be brewing.

Some see it as PKR preparing itself in the event Tun M does not hand over the reins to Anwar as expected.

And the next step?  Maybe a vote of no confidence to force Tun M out?

But then, Tun M is also no political novice and in fact can be described as the epitome of Malaysian political ingenuity.

Having been the PM for 22 years previously, he must have seen it all and handled it all. The saying “been there, done that” fits him perfectly.

So, Tun M gathers as much support as he can in the unlikely event of such a vote as surely he wouldn’t want to embarrassed by losing the vote.

The number's game begins

And so the horse trading starts.

Tun M’s Bersatu had only 13 MPs in the 222 seat parliament after GE14. Now, following the crossovers from Umno, it now has 22.

Over the next year or so, a sea of change may take place in Bersatu. Others who are waiting for the right time to jump ship could alter the balance even further and finally Bersatu could be at the same level with PKR and DAP.

Tun M is forced to do this as the party is fully centred around him and it could collapse overnight without him helming the party.

While his efforts could also be seen as undermining Umno and accelerating its demise, other PH partners are feeling uneasy.

Some in DAP and PKR have reacted adversely to this but others argue that Tun M is slowly destroying their main nemesis, Umno and this benefits PH in the long run.

Is this all there is or does the Malaysian political maverick have something else up his sleeve?

It is said that if Tun M does not yield after two years, calling for a vote of no confidence may be an option for Anwar.

Looking at PKR, it is increasingly clear that the party looks split into two factions – the Anwar and Azmin camps.

The PAS declaration that it will support Tun M has also spooked Anwar’s camp. Some feel that Tun M is consolidating his support base if the vote ever materialises.

And recent statements by the Azmin camp is seen as clearly leaning towards Tun M. Talk is also that Azmin is being primed by Tun M to take over as the PM instead of Anwar.

Some within the worried Anwar camp feel that the Azmin camp has been compromised and the party president may not get the full backing of its 50 MPs in the event of a vote.

It is believed that this fear was the catalyst on recent rumours saying Azmin and Zuraida Karuddin have been expelled from PKR.

It is said that there have been calls for them to be expelled but it is also believed that Bersatu is ready to welcome them.

The Azmin - Rafizi saga 

Azmin still has considerable influence based on him winning the party deputy presidency in the recent poll. He was in a bitter battle with Rafizi and finally managed to edge him out.

However, it is learned that some of those backing Azmin have deserted him and thrown their support behind Anwar.

According to a source, 19 PKR MPs are behind Azmin at the moment.

With Bersatu’s aggressive courting of Umno MPs and their impending entry into Sabah, the fledging party may soon even have over 30 MPs.

With Azmin’s 19 MPs, PAS 18, Amanah 11; 19 Sarawak MPs, 9 Warisan MPs and others, Tun M could probably survive the vote.

But it seems Anwar is just not going to take it sitting down.

He is also doing the ground work with efforts to ensure that Umno MPs will support him in the vote.

It is believed that both sides have now started their games through proxies.

Anwar’s past convictions are constantly being replayed and whispers of new allegations are being passed.

This is possibly to tarnish his image and create a public perception that he is not fit to be a PM.

Likewise Tun M is also being heavily criticised.

It is believed that Najib has also been approached to take advantage of his resurgent popularity.

Corporate figures are also being roped in as some have to place their bets on who will helm the country.   

With so much going on, the Pas statement that it will support Tun M looks like the game changer.

It has immediately put Anwar on the defensive and also amid fears reminiscence of what happened to Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when he was the DPM. Muhyiddin was eventually sacked by Najib.

So the question now is why did Pas suddenly issue the statement? Looks like Tun M pushed them into a corner and they had no choice but to issue it to clear the many allegations being thrown at them.