The road to formalising Perikatan Nasional as a pact has not been smooth, with some unpredictable hiccups.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof told the New Straits Times that the effort was a “work in progress” and that it would take some time.
“You have to understand that this cooperation will involve more than 10 parties and it will take some time for all issues to be ironed out,” he said.
However, the special functions minister said the coalition would materialise because “we want to enter the Dewan Rakyat as an official pact”.
Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin, on the other hand, would not confirm if any of the crucial discussions had taken place, saying that it was too early for any party to speak about forming a coalition.
“Maybe some are discussing it, but it’s too early to know because in Umno, there are several procedures to follow before a decision can be made and it is a long procedure. But, of course, I am sure Umno is always open to discussion,” he said when contacted.
The vague comments made by both leaders have raised a question on whether the two parties can ever formalise their political marriage after two months of living together in Putrajaya.
An insider claimed that such an effort is not likely to happen as many Umno leaders have expressed their reluctance to work with Bersatu leaders.
“For Umno leaders, those in Bersatu are traitors and, therefore, they can’t accept Bersatu, let alone accept it as the dominant party in the government,” the source said.
The source said no documents have been signed or even drafted to formalise Perikatan Nasional.
Asked if this was because Umno leaders had made too many demands that were not acceptable to Bersatu, the source responded in the negative.
“Umno has not made any demands because as some of their leaders have said, the party is only lending its members of parliament to the current government for a while.
“This is because Umno does not want to be tied to Perikatan Nasional as it has a bigger plan ahead of the 15th General Election (GE15).”
The source, however, refused to elaborate on what he meant by “a bigger plan” by Umno but an insider within Bersatu claimed it had something to do with “a letter”.
“This letter states that Umno will contest all Bersatu seats during either GE15 or at snap polls if it happens any time next year.
“Somehow, this letter was leaked to us and you can imagine how some Bersatu leaders are feeling now after finding out that their allies are not that keen in forming a formal friendship,” the insider claimed.
Based on talks with Umno grassroots, it appears that the party is now divided into three factions, with one Puteri Umno grassroots leader claiming that the biggest team is with the party’s deputy president, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
She was of the opinion that Umno leaders should only stay in the loose Perikatan Nasional pact until GE15 and leave the “unregistered marriage” quickly after Parliament is dissolved.
“Umno should contest all (parliamentary) seats that we normally do. Why should we help all those traitors in Bersatu during GE15?” she asked.
After the constitutional crisis less than three months ago brought on by political manoeuvres by several former Pakatan Harapan leaders along with Pas and Barisan Nasional parties, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed prime minister.
Perikatan Nasional was then introduced as the new administration in Putrajaya, but up to today, there is no clear indication of how many members of parliament are partial to the loose coalition.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad recently said he would sit on the opposition aisle, although a number of his party colleagues were going to be on the government side.
It was due to this uncertainty that Universiti Sains Malaysia political scientist Dr Sivamurugan Pandian believed that the government had decided to conduct a one-day Parliament sitting.
“Muhyiddin would have to put his house in order first, because no one knows exactly what the numbers are (the majority in the Dewan Rakyat).
“On May 18, we will finally see who sits on the government side and who sits on the opposition side,” he said. – NST