Former Pakatan Harapan allies Mohamed Azmin Ali and Hamzah Zainuddin had plotted the replacement of DAP and Amanah MPs with lawmakers from other parties, including Umno, from as early as October 2019, said Liew Chin Tong.
The former defence minister from DAP wrote in a blog post that the duo were in cahoots with Umno’s Hishammuddin Hussein to oust his party and Amanah from the government and replace their combined 53 MPs with those from Umno, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).
These 53 would comprise 17 Umno MPs said to be under Hishammuddin’s control, and 18 each from PAS and GPS. Hamzah by then had already led 15 Umno MPs to defect from Umno to Bersatu.
Liew, a DAP central executive committee member, said then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin were both unaware of these plans by Azmin, Hamzah and Hishammuddin.
The plan was only revealed when Hishammuddin gave an interview to New Straits Times on October 14, 2019, in which he talked about building a “Bangsa Malaysia” without DAP and Amanah.
“It was supposed to be the first salvo fired.
“But at that time, Muhyiddin Yassin and Dr Mahathir Mohamad were not keen on such a move. Much as some of us were aware of the Azmin-Hamzah-Hishammudin plot, Azmin (PKR) and Hamzah (Bersatu) were then allies, therefore we couldn’t name them.
“Hishammuddin’s NST article provided a rare chance to expose the plot and stop it,” Liew wrote.
The senator and former deputy defence minister said the trio wanted to form a Malay unity government which did not include DAP.
The idea for such a government was promoted at the Malay Dignity Congress in October 2019 which was organised by Hamzah.
All through the same month, Liew added, attacks were launched on DAP aimed at making it “untenable for PH to stay together”.
All about stopping Anwar
All these efforts by Azmin, Liew said, were aimed at preventing the former’s boss, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, from becoming prime minister.
Anwar was to succeed Dr Mahathir as agreed by PH parties prior to the 2018 general election.
“The primary objective of the plan to use the 53 from Hishammuddin’s group, GPS and PAS to replace DAP and Amanah’s 53, was to deprive Anwar the opportunity to be prime minister.
“Azmin believed that the moment DAP and Amanah were out of the equation, he would be able to control most of the PKR MPs, or that nobody would back Anwar as PM,” Liew said.
The plot was thwarted by PH leaders when the coalition’s secretariat issued a joint statement to state the solid camaraderie between ally parties of the coalition, added Liew, who is DAP’s national political education director.
“The PH statement was widely published in all major newspapers… I would say that we averted a coup of 53 (Hishammuddin’s group, GPS and PAS) replacing 53 (Amanah and DAP).”
However, PH leaders were caught off-guard when the second attempt was made in February this year, now known as the “Sheraton Move”.
This was because Muhyiddin had unexpectedly joined forces with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. Dr Mahathir and Warisan’s Mohd Shafie Apdal, however, refused to work with Umno.
Liew said he was documenting what had happened as a response to Azmin’s attempt to “rewrite history to whitewash his reputation”.
Azmin recently told The Star that in order to secure the support of MPs from all parties, Dr Mahathir devised the plan to form Perikatan Nasional.
The international trade and industries minister said Dr Mahathir’s idea was to be a prime minister supported by all MPs irrespective of their party affiliation.
Dr Mahathir has denied Azmin’s claims and reiterated that his intention was to stay with PH despite the move by Muhyiddin, who is now Bersatu president and prime minister, to leave the pact abruptly. – TMI