KUALA LUMPUR: Fabricated numbers whispered by a Barisan Nasional (BN) emissary to a Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) insider almost cost the coalition a place in the federal government.
The GPS insider then took the hyped up numbers — 18 BN members of parliament — to the GPS leadership which led the coalition to choose to stand with Perikatan Nasional (PN).
GPS had always maintained that it would lend its support to the party that is able to form the federal government.
"The leadership took their word for it. The announcement was then made that GPS and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah would join PN.
"That was also why in the announcement by the leadership, it mentioned that the Borneo bloc would join BN in supporting PN," a source within the coalition told the New Straits Times.
The source said the BN emissary, in guaranteeing that he could bring 18 of his coalition's elected representatives over to PN's side, also dropped another BN leader's name.
He added that the emissary, who was promised a deputy prime minister's post if PN won Putrajaya, said the other BN leader would bring with him 10 more MPs to the table.
"The misleading narrative was that with GPS' 22 and GRS' six and PN's 73, BN's 18 would be more than enough.
"The other 10 that was supposed to come, was a bonus number.
"When the leadership learnt that it was not happening, it decided that the best decision was to accede to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's advice for a unity government," the source said.
Pakatan Harapan chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in his first press conference as the 10th prime minister, just hours after he was sworn in to the post, announced the official make-up of his government — PH, BN and GPS.
He had also welcomed other parties to come on board.
However, PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin later said his coalition chose to be the opposition, to serve as a strong check and balance in Dewan Rakyat.