NETIZENS in Malaysia were today given some respite from their worries about Covid 19 thanks to a series of letters that looked set to shake up the political sphere as embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s position came under attack.
First came a letter to Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Yusof from Sabah chief minister Shafie Apdal, proposing the tabling of a motion of confidence for Bersatu chairman and Langkawi member of parliament Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the one-day session on May 18.
This was followed by a letter from Dr Mahathir himself, also to Mohd Ariff, proposing the tabling of a vote of no confidence on Muhyiddin.
Mohd Ariff verified the letters and acknowledged receipt shortly before rejecting Shafie’s proposal on technical grounds in that his proposal had questioned the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the appointment of a Prime Minister.
While all this went through, the Pakatan Harapan secretariat issued a letter signed by secretary general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail to Mohd Ariff, notifying the speaker of the opposition coalition’s choice of leader in parliament, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
Then came a rebuttal from Bersatu communications chief Radzi Jidin, aimed at deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir’s call for the party to return to Pakatan Harapan, which was backed by the party’s youth wing through a consensus in their meeting with Dr Mahathir yesterday.
Radzi stated that Bersatu would not go back on its decision to leave Pakatan Harapan, which was decided by its supreme council during the political coup on March 27, although the Dr Mahathir camp suggest this went against the party’s constitution and was done without consensus of members.
Muhyiddin has come under fire from both within his loosely put together Perikatan Nasional coalition, with UMNO reiterating they would reject official ties with the coalition. Today surfaced further reports that the party’s supreme council had achieved a consensus to reject becoming officially tied to Perikatan Nasional.
Within UMNO circles, the balance also seems to sway in favour of reverting to the Barisan Nasional coalition with MCA and MIC, PBS and several parties in Sabah, as well as GPS in Sarawak and bolstered by the new partnership under Muafakat Nasional with PAS. This seems to be the popular tone within UMNO.
The same goes for PKR, where the balance seems to sway towards ridding the party of possible traitors linked to the Azmin Ali camp which is deemed as the cause of the fall of Pakatan Harapan government.
Although there seems to be an intent from coalition partners, particularly AMANAH, to mend ties and revive the Pakatan Harapan government with the return of Bersatu, an idea which Anwar barely nodded in agreement, the hurt caused by what is deemed as betrayal does not see much of PKR’s grassroots quickly jumping on such opportunities.
After all, many state it was rather obvious that Azmin was the prime mover behind the events that led to the Sheraton Move and the ensuing political coup.
Judging from reverberations within its echo chambers, the PKR grassroots, more so its hardcore base of reformists, seem more excited about the “pembersihan parti” being carried out by its leadership, in ridding it off the remnants of the Azmin Ali cartel.
What all this tells us at this moment is that Muhyiddin, albeit under severe pressure, does have his options in terms of lifelines, both with former allies Pakatan Harapan of which two of three partners and Warisan are eager for him to mend ties, while UMNO too seem to be opening doors for his return as stated by Pasir Salak MP and supreme council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman yesterday.
This could leave Azmin and his cartel as the odd ones out, with the 11-members deemed as rogue MPs by PKR and with suggested memberships of Bersatu still hanging in the balance, with only oral agreements said to have been achieved without any official submission or approval.
While the option of the almost forgotten Gerakan available, the cartel are also doing a bad job at hiding their tracks as they inch towards the formation of a new party, said to be multiracial.
The vibes from UMNO should already point to Azmin and his main strength in tireless maneuvering, would not be a much welcome addition to their coalition, although he might be tolerated for the sake of sustaining power.
But where will the power be after this impending exchange of political moves? That is still a question, with Muhyiddin as of yesterday, assessed by some fellow-actors to barely command an unclear 113-seat support if the Dewan Rakyat is convened today.
Unclear and uncertain as it is for Muhyiddin and his band of constantly fumbling cabinet members, at least two camps – a large number within UMNO and possibly the majority of PKR – seem to prefer the potentially cornered Prime Minister to opt for an exit plan that might please most people, which is to dissolve parliament for the 15th general elections to take place.
And here are today’s letters, if you haven’t already read them on Facebook:
Shafie’s letter to speaker Mohd Ariff
Speaker Mohd Ariff’s reply to Shafie
Pakatan Harapan’s letter to Mohd Ariff
Radzi Jidin’s statement rebutting calls for Bersatu to return to Pakatan Harapan