KOTA BARU: Speculation is mounting over a growing movement within Perikatan Nasional (PN) to sideline its chairman, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, with some accusing him of being the stumbling block to forging a cooperation with the federal government.
Despite securing a resounding win in the Padang Serai parliamentary election, party insiders hinted of rumblings of discontent over the increasingly isolated role PN is assuming in the political sphere.
One insider said despite the win in Padang Serai and narrow loss in Tioman, some leaders had voiced concern over the coalition's long-term plans and whether it should remain in the opposition camp.
"There is also this perception that had it not been for Muhyiddin vetoing any cooperation with Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional, some of our leaders may have been given positions in the new federal set-up," claimed the source.
Reports suggested that senior leaders had in recent weeks explored the possibility of replacing Muhyiddin with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) secretary-general, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.
The rejection of any cooperation with PH and BN is understood to be particularly concerning to Pas, whose leaders believe that its Malay-Muslim base could be aggrieved by the move and see it as going against the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's call for parties to form a unity government.
In the 15th General Election, PH won 82 seats, followed by PN with 73, BN with 30, Gabungan Parti Sarawak with 22, Gabungan Rakyat Sabah with six and Warisan, three seats.
With no one securing a clear majority, Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, after asking for evidence of support from the coalitions' leaders, decided that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had the backing of the majority to become the country's 10th prime minister.
BN later accepted Anwar's offer to form a unity government. PN, however, rejected the proposal.
However, a senior Pas leader, when contacted, rejected the claim and said it was merely an attempt to create internal strife within PN.
"There is no such thing. This is an attempt by desperate people to weaken PN. They (the ones who made the claim) are disrespecting the choice of the people," said the Pas leader, referring to PN's gains during GE15.
On talks about replacing Muhyiddin with Hamzah, the Pas leader said this was merely borne out of fear over PN's growing influence.
"(There are) certain quarters who have begun to fear PN (and its political clout). With the latest results from Padang Serai, it seems that people are in favour of PN."
Another party insider said such accusations were meant to divert attention from internal problems within the unity government.
"This is an attempt to cover up internal problems stemming from the unity government between BN and PH. PN remains solid and support for the coalition is getting stronger.
"We do not have issues in the party leadership. We are all standing firm in support of the PN chairman."