Speculation is rife on who will replace Ahmad Faizal Azumu as Perak menteri besar following the motion of confidence at the state legislative assembly today which saw him lose by 38 votes.
A source from Perak Umno told MalaysiaNow that two names are being circulated as the most likely candidates: Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad and former menteri besar Zambry Abd Kadir.
“Saarani is the first choice because he is the state Umno chief, who is usually chosen as menteri besar.
“Zambry meanwhile did a good job when he held the position of menteri besar for two terms, from 2009 to 2018. So don’t be surprised if Zambry is chosen again by the Perak sultan,” the source said.
When contacted by MalaysiaNow, Shaarani who is Kota Tampan assemblyman declined to comment.
If Zambry is chosen to lead the state, the source said, Perak’s ties with Putrajaya would continue as he has a good relationship with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
The Perak state assembly comprises 25 representatives from Umno, 16 from DAP, five from Bersatu, five from Amanah, three from PKR, three from PAS, one from Gerakan and one independent.
Meanwhile, Faizal told MalaysiaNow that he is awaiting a date for an audience with Perak ruler Sultan Nazrin Sultan Azlan Shah.
“The choice of menteri besar is Umno’s business. Bersatu will not interfere,” he said. “Bersatu will remain with Perikatan Nasional (PN).”
An MB from Umno would mean Perak becoming the third state to return to Umno’s rule since PN took over the federal government in late February.
It follows Johor and Melaka, which were under Pakatan Harapan (PH) until the coalition’s collapse.
Former Perak exco Hamidah Osman who has been a member of both Umno and Bersatu said today’s events showed the beginning of cracks between the two Malay parties in the PN state government.
He added that it would not be so easy to choose a new menteri besar.
“To choose a menteri besar, we need the support of 30 assemblymen. Presently, Umno only has 25 – five short of the necessary number,” Hamidah, who is currently vice-president of Putra, the party founded by former Kelantan MP Ibrahim Ali, told MalaysiaNow.
He added that the identities of the 10 assemblymen who had voted in support of Faizal remained unknown.
“Could there be representatives from PAS among them? If so, it would mean that Umno still lacks the support needed to choose the menteri besar.”
Hamidah said the best way to resolve the political situation in Perak would be to dissolve the state assembly to make way for a state election.
“But due to concerns over the spikes in Covid-19, the sultan must look carefully at all aspects before coming to a decision on the matter.”
Faizal was removed as menteri besar today after losing the support of the majority in the state legislative assembly.
The motion of confidence, submitted by Pengkalan Baharu assemblyman Abd Manaf Hashim, saw 48 voting against him, 10 voting in support of him and one abstaining.