Monday, October 26, 2020

‘Better enemies than traitors’: Emerging narrative from PKR, Amanah after Anwar’s failed plot?

This is also to get DAP on their side, says a former aide to a minister from Amanah.

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A “better enemies than traitors” narrative is slowly taking shape within PKR and Amanah in the wake of Anwar Ibrahim’s failure to provide proof to the Agong of his claim of majority support from MPs to form the federal government.

With anger growing among Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters who took to social media to air their frustrations on what has come to be known as “disastrous Tuesday”, some leaders have been forced to explain to them that working with “enemies” is better than working with “traitors”.

“Enemies here refer to Najib Razak and Umno leaders, and the traitors are Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and Mohamed Azmin Ali,” a social media manager with PKR told MalaysiaNow.

On Tuesday, Anwar was granted a half-hour audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, three weeks after he declared that Muhyiddin’s government had collapsed.

But a statement by the Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household said Anwar had only stated the number of MPs he claimed were backing him to take over Putrajaya, a revelation met with both cynicism and anger.

That same day, several PKR MPs indicated to MalaysiaNow that they were ready to quit the party, a move which could see Anwar’s bloc further thinning in the Dewan Rakyat.

Syed Badli Shah Syed Osman.

One PKR leader who has been promoting the “traitors and enemies” narrative is Syed Badli Shah Syed Osman, a staunch loyalist of Anwar who had been urging Dr Mahathir Mohamad to resign in the weeks leading up to the collapse of PH in February.

“If there comes a time when we have no choice but to choose between the enemy and the traitor, it is better to choose the enemy. In politics, there are no permanent enemies and friends,” Syed Badli posted on Twitter, amid a deluge of criticism over Anwar’s claim that he was ready to form a new federal government.

Syed Badli later told MalaysiaNow that there was nothing wrong with PH getting support from the “enemy side”.

He said anyone who was against PH could be considered enemies.

“There is nothing wrong with them giving support to Anwar as individuals,” he said.

A source in Amanah told MalaysiaNow that a former senior minister in the party had also been “actively promoting this line”.

“The aim is not only to calm the grassroots as well as PH MPs themselves who were told to prepare to return to Putrajaya, but also to get DAP leaders on their side,” said the former aide to a minister from Amanah.

“In politics, there are no permanent enemies and friends.”

DAP was not forthcoming in expressing support for Anwar’s trip to the palace on Tuesday, but analysts said any move by PKR and Amanah to enlist Umno MPs into a new bloc would be strongly opposed within DAP.

MalaysiaNow previously reported that DAP leaders had “made it very clear” to Anwar that the party, with 42 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, would not join any bloc made up of Umno MPs, “in particular those smeared by corruption”.

“That is the reason why Anwar went ahead to secure an appointment with the Agong, hoping to get groundswell support from many more Umno MPs,” an aide had said.

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 47 charges of corruption, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, has been among the key Umno politicians pushing for the party to quit the Perikatan Nasional alliance.

Among Zahid’s complaints is that Muhyiddin had sidelined Umno for key government posts, including for the position of Sabah chief minister which went to Hajiji Noor, a Bersatu man who led an exodus from Sabah Umno in late 2018.

Fazreen Kamal contributed to this report.

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