Cracks beginning to show in PH, says analyst

Anwar Ibrahim’s absence at a press conference held by Dr Mahathir Mohamad shows that there are unsettled issues within the opposition, says Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: An analyst believes cracks are starting to show in the opposition bloc, particularly after PKR president Anwar Ibrahim’s no-show at a press conference held by Dr Mahathir Mohamad when other Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders were present.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said Anwar’s reason for his absence – that the presser was not officially called by PH – was odd, particularly since DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu were there.

He said it was obvious that there were unsettled issues within the opposition and warned that their potential to retake Putrajaya will be affected should their differences fail to be resolved.

Azmi said the internal squabbling, which was already going on since PH had PPBM as a partner, was synonymous with the perception that the coalition could not perform well as a government.

Azmi Hassan

“The opposition needs to set aside this kind of internal bickering, which was how they lost being the government in the first place.

“The people are quite wary and might suspect that they do not have what it takes to govern the country,” he told FMT.

James Chin of University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said PKR seemed to be the weak link in PH right now, adding that there was a possibility of more defections from Anwar’s party to Perikatan Nasional (PN).

He said PN’s formal registration as a political entity will be a major determining factor if it were to be established as a single coalition by the next general election.

James Chin

“If PN is registered as a coalition – which I think they will – then this will allow all PN parties, including Barisan Nasional (BN), to stand under a single party symbol.

“And the longer they (PN) hang onto power, the easier it will be for them to bring some PKR people over,” he said.

Chin said PPBM’s current position was historic and interesting, as there had never been a ruling party that had MPs in both the government and opposition bloc.

When it came to political organisation, Azmi said, BN seemed to be the more stable coalition compared to PN and PH.

“PN is the most fractured since the members are there together because of different agenda, compared to PH who, despite their internal bickering, had a common agenda which was to get rid of BN.”

He expects Muafakat Nasional, the political cooperation between Umno and PAS, to play a bigger role in the nation’s political future than BN by itself.

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