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Amanah, PKR trade barbs as cracks widen in PH after PM appointment

Some have openly questioned the coalition's political decisions while others are disputing the direction of their parties.

Staff Writers
3 minute read

Conflict has arisen among some in Pakatan Harapan (PH) over the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim following his failed bid to replace Muhyiddin Yassin in the country’s top office, in what could signal the beginning of cracks in the opposition pact.

Aside from DAP MPs Tony Pua and Ong Kian Ming, who had previously questioned PH’s decision to reject the cross-party consensus offered by Muhyiddin in exchange for the opposition’s support in a vote of confidence, several leaders from Amanah and PKR have also openly disputed the direction of their parties.

Bukit Bintang Amanah Youth chief Ahmad Asri Talib yesterday issued a statement urging his party leaders to form a PH Plus coalition and to replace Anwar with a new leader.

“Amanah’s plan for a ‘grand coalition’ must be realised and cannot be destroyed by pressure from any quarter,” he said.

“Changing the opposition leader is the best way to restore the trust of the people and rebuild an honourable government.”

He added that many candidates could be put forth such as Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Shafie Apdal or others agreed on by the PH Plus coalition.

His statement was met with scorn by Sarawak-based pro-PKR activist Iswardy Morni who said Amanah did not realise that its state of paralysis in the state.

“Amanah in Sarawak is nearly immobilised,” he said. “From negotiations for more than 10 seats in the state assembly for Amanah at the state election to come, perhaps only two will remain.

“Even then, one of them will be offered to me because Amanah lacks the candidates and the machinery.

“If Amanah can’t even take care of Sarawak, there is no need to comment further on whether Anwar can obtain the majority or whether a new opposition leader should be appointed.”

PKR and Amanah leaders however sought to dispel what they called “ill-intentioned rumours” on the matter, telling Astro Awani that there had been no such calls for Anwar to step down.

PKR Youth election director Fahmi Zainol meanwhile openly called for his party to go it alone.

He first made the suggestion for PKR to strike out on its own last night, and repeated it again today.

“I raise the question once again,” he said. “PKR needs to go solo. Agreed? Going solo doesn’t mean conflict among opposition parties, and it doesn’t mean not being friends with anyone,” he said in a post on Twitter.

“It just means not being in a coalition. We are still friends, we are still against a clear enemy.”

Anwar had claimed several times that PH possessed the support needed in Parliament to form the government, which would also enable him to become prime minister.

He first made the claim in 2008 when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister. However, efforts to topple Barisan Nasional at the time failed.

Anwar claimed that efforts in 2008 had failed due to the lack of a special Dewan Rakyat sitting and the fact that the 40 MPs from Barisan Nasional who supported him were flown to Taiwan to attend a seminar.

Since the beginning of the year, he had stated several times that he possessed a “strong and formidable” majority which would allow him to be appointed as prime minister.

He, together with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak, were seen as leading efforts to topple the Perikatan Nasional government led by Muhyiddin Yassin.

Muhyiddin resigned last week after losing his fragile majority due to the withdrawal of support from a group of MPs aligned with Najib and Zahid.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed as Muhyiddin’s replacement with the support of 114 of the 220 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat.

There is some dispute over the number of MPs who backed Anwar, with some placing the figure at 105 and others at 92.