Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anwar turns to ‘unity govt’, ‘new consensus’ sound bites to push for approval to work with Zahid

The PKR president needs to convince 'recalcitrant' MPs in Pakatan Harapan that this is part of a plan to fight the pandemic.

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Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim is pushing for a so-called “unity government” and “new consensus” in the hope of soothing growing anger from within his bloc on working together with a group of MPs aligned with former leader Najib Razak, a key PKR leader told MalaysiaNow.

It is learnt that publicists in PKR have been urged to step up a media campaign to underline the need to look beyond “scandals and power abuse” in forging cooperation with politicians long regarded as enemies of the PH coalition.

Emerging from Istana Negara today where he and other top political leaders were called for an audience, Anwar said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had urged for a “new consensus” so that all parties could work together in the critical battle against Covid-19.

The source said the emphasis by the PKR leader on one part of the Agong’s speech was not surprising.

“The ultimate goal is to convince those up in arms against the kleptocrat group that this is part of the way forward, using phrases such as ‘unity government’ and ‘new consensus’,” the source who is an office bearer in PKR told MalaysiaNow.

The term “kleptocrats” refers to a group of Umno leaders who are facing multiple corruption charges, led by Najib, who alongside Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi played a key role in forcing Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin out of office this week.

Najib and Zahid, who between them are facing hundreds of corruption charges including those related to the 1MDB scandal, had gathered about a dozen MPs from their party to revoke support for Muhyiddin.

Besides the pair, others in the group are MPs who have been slapped with charges of criminal breach of trust, bribery, money laundering and tax dodging.

Muhyiddin had said that he was forced to resign due to efforts by a group of “kleptocrats” to destabilise his administration and return to power.

It was reported that 15 MPs aligned with Najib and Zahid might agree to back Anwar to provide him with the majority needed to form the government.

“That appears to be the kiss of death for PH, as many DAP MPs have put to notice that working with Najib, the central figure in the 1MDB scandal, is not going to be an option,” said the PKR source.

“They told us they will remain the opposition until the next polls rather than risk the support of their vote bank,” it added.

DAP’s Damansara MP Tony Pua has publicly warned against any cooperation with Umno MPs, drawing criticism from his colleagues in PH.

Pua had also responded positively to the cross-party consensus offered by Muhyiddin in which the Perikatan Nasional government pledged to undertake several key reforms in return for the support of opposition MPs in the planned confidence vote.

The PKR source said given Anwar’s failed bid to obtain the backing of MPs from outside the PH fold, he would have to convince “recalcitrant MPs”.

“His much needed majority can only be formed with the help of Zahid and gang. But the package must be beautifully presented to recalcitrant MPs in PH, to show that it is all part of a ‘unity government’ and ‘new consensus’ to fight the pandemic,” the source added.

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