Hamzah likely to be Opposition leader in Parliament


PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin is tipped to be the Opposition leader, following talk that coalition chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin wanted to focus on the pending state elections.

A source confirmed that Hamzah, who is also Bersatu secretary-general, was chosen after the heads of Bersatu and PAS turned down the post.

“PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang does not want to be bogged down by it. It is taxing enough being PAS president,” said the source.

Perikatan captured 73 seats in the 15th General Election last month. Within the coalition, PAS won 49 seats, which is more than any of the other Perikatan component parties.

According to the source, the next in hierarchy would be the deputy presidents.

“But PAS deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who is also an assemblyman, has already been appointed state Opposition leader in Pahang,” he said.

As for Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, he is not an MP after losing in the battle for Tambun.

“Thus, the party secretaries-general, who are MPs, are the next to be considered for the Opposition leader role.

“Hamzah is the one chosen,” said the source.

A check with some PAS senior leaders confirmed that they have agreed to Hamzah taking on the role.

“The Perikatan central committee had agreed that the Perikatan secretary-general become the Opposition leader. We go with the hierarchy in the coalition,” said one, who requested anonymity.

“Hamzah is a good fit, as he is also the former home minister and has vast experience on the dos and don’ts of the Dewan Rakyat.”

Furthermore, he described Hamzah as an outspoken person.

“We need someone like that, especially now that we are the biggest Opposition bloc.”

Hamzah declined to comment when contacted.

This would not be the first time the Opposition leader is not the head of an Opposition coalition or party.

In March 2019, Umno had appointed its vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the Opposition leader until the then Pakatan Harapan government fell in March 2020.

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