All eyes on the Palace

Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu. - filepic

Scramble to form new state govt begins after Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu loses vote of confidence.

THE scramble to form a new government in Perak is on after the stunning ouster of Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu as the mentri besar at the state assembly yesterday.

The focus over the next few days will shift to the Kinta Palace which has the burdensome task of establishing which party or parties have the numbers to form the government and who has the support to become the next mentri besar.

Umno politicians who were behind the removal of Faizal insist that the state government is still intact whereas it is actually in limbo.

The fact that only 23 of the 33 assemblymen from the government bench voted to remove Faizal suggests that the government is split and is in jeopardy in terms of numbers.

Moreover, PAS, which has three assemblymen, has declared that it will not be involved in the formation of the new government.

In other words, PAS does not intend to take sides in this debacle.

Faizal, who had an audience with the Sultan of Perak at about 5pm yesterday, will be the caretaker mentri besar until a solution is reached.

It is understood that he has also tendered his resignation to the Sultan.

State Assembly Speaker Datuk Mohamad Zahir Abdul Khalid was also granted an audience to present the official outcome of the vote of confidence on the mentri besar.

The outgoing mentri besar has shown himself to be a gentleman and he seems to have accepted what happened professionally.It is learnt that after the vote was counted in the state assembly, Kota Tampan assemblyman Datuk Saarani Mohamad, the man widely expected to take over the top job,

had turned to Ahmad Faizal and expressed hope that they could continue to work together.Faizal had reportedly agreed that he would continue to work with the coalition.

He has also indicated that he does not intend to call for a dissolution of the state assembly.

“He is a wounded man, so let’s see what happens next. The Palace has an important role to play but we believe in the wisdom of our Sultan in determining who has the majority to form the government, ” said an Umno state assemblyman.

Some think that Umno may have shot itself in the foot because it now has to go back to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, of which Faizal is the deputy president, for support to hold on to the government.

What Umno did not expect was that PAS, their partner in Muafakat Nasional, would choose to go along with Bersatu.

Umno politicians saw it as a stab in the back and the “betrayal” may sow the seeds of distrust between the two parties.

Faizal is not completely without friends in Umno.

As the vote count was going on yesterday morning, some assemblymen were thumping their table as though in celebration.

Rungkup assemblyman Datuk Shahrul Zaman Yahya, who goes back a long way with Faizal, jumped to his feet to urge the House to show respect to the mentri besar.

Pakatan Harapan leaders have also requested an audience with the Palace.

It is scheduled for 11am today.

The state assembly will only resume on Wednesday next week when the State Budget will be presented by, presumably, the new mentri besar. But will there be a new mentri besar by then?

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is scheduled for an audience with the Sultan tomorrow morning and the speculation is that he will be presenting a name from Umno for the post of mentri besar.

But can the parties involved put aside their differences and ill feelings and come together to form a government over the next couple of days?

At this point in time, it seems unreasonable to expect Bersatu to continue working with Umno after what has happened.

But if they are unable to do so, Perak may be headed for a snap state election.

Moreover, there is more than just Perak politics at stake here.

An all-out war between Bersatu and Umno in Perak has the potential to rock the fragile balance of power in Putrajaya which would be disastrous.

As such, it is critical for Umno, Bersatu and PAS to reconcile, to keep the peace in Perak and find an amicable solution to the Perak crisis.

The views expressed here are entirely the writer’s own.

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