Thursday, April 25

Reaching boiling point?

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Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi

KUCHING: Simmering tension between rival factions in Pakatan Harapan (PH) could trigger a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the next parliament sitting.

Sociopolitical analyst Assoc Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi said Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) decision to accept former Umno members into its fold as well as to spread its wing to Sabah, has not gone down well with its allies PKR, DAP and Parti Warisan Sabah.

“Rumours are circulating in Kuala Lumpur that a vote of no confidence may happen based on the (recent) actions of Bersatu, which are seen as openly breaking the promise sealed among Pakatan Harapan leaders.

“The component parties (in PH) and Warisan are not happy with Dr Mahathir for not only breaking his promises to the rakyat, but also within Pakatan Harapan,” he told The Borneo Post.

Awang Azman, who is senior lecturer at University of Malaya’s Department of Socioculture, remarked that there also appears to be a ‘silent protest’ among PKR leaders over what is perceived to be attempts to delay the transition of power between Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar, he added, also appeared to have also been sidelined when he was not appointed by the prime minister to the recently-set-up Economic Action Council (EAC), despite his experience as the country’s former finance minister.

The 16-strong EAC, set up on Feb 11, is chaired by Dr Mahathir and comprises current and former ministers, top economists and financial advisors. It will scrutinise and make decisions regarding economic and financial affairs, as well as the welfare of the people.

“The EAC is a very important body that will shape and determine the direction of the country economic policy as well as build and rehabilitate our economy.

“By right, Anwar should have been included as he is not only unburdened by any Cabinet post, he was also formerly our finance minister who was once billed as one of the best in the world,” said Awang Azman.

Meanwhile, he said a possible pact between Umno and PAS in the Semenyih by-election could prove disastrous for Bersatu if its candidate was to lose.

“I went down to Semenyih to do some research and found that there are no ‘local’ issues. Everything was centred around PH’s performance and on national issues, so a PH loss would be disastrous for PH and embarrassing for Bersatu.”

continue to cooperate into the next general election, Bersatu and Parti Amanah Negara could face severe losses in Malay-majority seats.

Awang Azman said that despite losing power in the last general election, Umno remains a very strong party based on the number of its members.

“Umno’s strength is its members, and not leaders with vested interest. When Datuk Onn Jaafar, the founder of Umno, left to form a new party, the members did not follow him. They stayed.

“The same applies to when Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah left to form Semangat 46; not many followed him.”

He also insisted that Bersatu will never take off in Sarawak and is unlikely to pose a threat in the next state election.

“They may have a chance to win a few seats if some of the PBB leaders who are sulking decide to quit and join Bersatu. Other than that, not much chance.”