POLITICS: Horse-trading for the PM’s post

THE talk is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is digging the trenches. The Prime Minister will fight to keep his post.

On Tuesday (Aug 3), in a cobra strike, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, after a virtual Umno supreme council meeting, announced that the party has retracted its support for the Perikatan Nasional government and Muhyiddin.

At least 11 Umno MPs support this move.

That means that there are only 104 MPs out of 220 who are supporting Muhyiddin. Unless the Prime Minister can shore up his support, he has lost his majority.

Till this morning, the Bersatu president has been making calls to strike a deal with other parties and politicians to get the numbers to remain as PM.

After a face-to-face meeting with the King at 11am today (Aug 4), Muhyiddin announced that he will not resign and will table a motion of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat in September.

It is horse-trading time.

Other political parties are also making deals to get the numbers to form the next government.

There are several permutations depending on which party or politicians can strike a deal.

There’s a move for a coalition government with almost all the parties minus Muhyiddin as PM and Pakatan Harapan.

Roughly this is a Perikatan government with Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) and Parti Warisan Sabah and an Umno president. But Pejuang and Warisan might not want certain Umno leaders, especially those with court dates, to be in that coalition.

The Opposition - Pakatan (PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara), Warisan and Pejuang - is trying to cobble up a government with Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah of Umno or Semporna MP Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, who is Warisan president, to be the Prime Minister.

There’s also a move for an interim government with an Umno leader as Prime Minister.

The hint to Umno’s position is in its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s statement that the party’s next move depended on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The potential names for Prime Minister – in case Muhyiddin fails to defend his position – are PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Umno’s Razaleigh, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein of Umno, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Warisan president Shafie.

But some are not that keen to be PM.

It would be a challenging job with Covid-19 raging in the country. It would be better for Muhyiddin to remain as PM to finish his job to control the pandemic and vaccinate Malaysians.

Which party will eventually emerge as the winner?

It could be the party that triggered this political crisis by pulling support from Muhyiddin. It was a calculated move as Umno had assurance its move would propel it back to ultimate power which is the Prime Minister post.

The key to forming a government is the proposed coalition and its Prime Minister candidate must have the confidence of the King.

The King is the kingmaker.

> This story has been updated to reflect latest events

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