KUALA LUMPUR: The proposed unity government, which is dominating discussions on local politics, would involve shifting alliances that will not only impact the federal administration, but also the leadership in several states, sources said.
Sources close to the Pakatan Harapan top leadership revealed that a unified allegiance to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad comprising Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Pas and Umno could see at least Kedah, Perak and Melaka getting new menteris besar and chief minister.
Melaka CM Adly Zahari is from Parti Amanah Negara, while Kedah MB Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and Perak MB Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu are from Bersatu.
Sources told the New Straits Times that the three states were mentioned during several closed-door discussions and negotiations between Bersatu, Pas and Umno.
“Together, Umno and Pas are strong in Kedah, Perak and Melaka. The reason they are not significantly strong now is because they split the votes in the last general election by having three-cornered fights with PH.
“But now that there is a plan for a unity government, it makes sense to let some states be administered by Umno or Pas,” a source said.
Another PH insider said there were plans to bring Mukhriz and Faizal to Putrajaya as they were seen as second-tier leaders who would one day helm Bersatu. Such a move would consolidate Bersatu’s political strength at the federal level.
“As for Melaka, it depends on the Amanah top leaders. Are they going to support this unity government effort? If they are not, there is no reason why Adly should stay on,” said the source.
As at press time, efforts to contact Mukhriz, Faizal and Adly were unsuccessful.
At the federal level, despite public denials by many PH leaders on the existence of a unity government plan, a Bersatu insider claimed that a substantial 122 members of parliament had made an official pledge to support Dr Mahathir.
“This is causing uneasiness among other PH leaders, such as (leaders in) DAP, Amanah and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s allies,” the source said.
To recap, the PH Presidential Council had decided prior to the 14th General Election that Dr Mahathir would be prime minister temporarily and eventually hand over the position to Anwar. The exact timing of the handover has been the subject of much debate ever since.
The NST was told that Bersatu would get more lawmakers, either by MPs jumping ship or staying in their parties, but making an official agreement to support Dr Mahathir.
“This has caught them (DAP, Amanah and Anwar’s allies) by surprise, because all this while, we were repeatedly told that Bersatu does not have enough numbers and, therefore, Dr Mahathir must pass the baton to Anwar,” the source said.
An Umno insider revealed that the unity government plan received considerable support because of Anwar’s tainted image due to his past criminal charges.
“That perception stays and most of us (in Umno) don’t want him as prime minister,” the source said. “He can’t be the prime minister because he doesn’t have enough support in the Dewan (Rakyat).”
It has not been entirely smooth sailing for the unity government plan however, as a Bersatu source said some Umno MPs were said to be making “bizarre demands”.
“We have the numbers. That’s done. But we do have some issues with Umno because a small number of them made bizarre demands. Some want ministerial positions. Some want to be made senators. It’s ridiculous.
“You can’t simply make demands. You have to prove you are worthy of those positions.”