Expect political manoeuvres after Anwar’s claim, say analysts

Anwar Ibrahim announcing that he has a ‘convincing’ majority to form a new government yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Analysts expect a flurry of political manoeuvres to follow Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that he has the numbers to form a new government.

Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia said there would be time, before Anwar has an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, for the opposing sides to make moves to gather the support of MPs.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Anwar’s new coalition would still have to go through many processes before getting the royal consent to form a government.

Anwar announced at a press conference yesterday that he had a “strong, formidable, convincing” majority to form a new government and that the Agong had granted him an audience, which had to be postponed because the king was being treated at the National Heart Institute.

Azmi Hassan

Awang Azman said the Agong would want to know the names of the MPs supporting Anwar and probably also the parties that were joining him, the rationale for their involvement and the stand of the leaders of other parties.

He said he expected many to doubt Anwar’s claim because it came just days before the Sabah polls.

Azmi said the timing of Anwar’s announcement struck him as odd since the king was still in hospital and the Sabah election would be held on Saturday.

However, he added that he did not think it had anything to do the state election.

Awang Azman Pawi

He also said Anwar’s claim of having a strong majority, if true, would be a relief to the public as it would mean the forming of a stable government without the necessity for a snap election.

“A stable government with no concern about losing its majority will theoretically put all effort towards governing the nation to its best capability,” he added.

Awang Azman agreed, saying a government with a strong majority would have the breathing space to focus on managing the Covid-19 pandemic and its wide-reaching implications.

He said the claimed defection of Umno MPs to Anwar’s side was due to their dissatisfaction with PPBM.

He noted that there had been calls from various quarters in Perikatan Nasional for a snap election and said the support for Anwar was probably to prevent any dissolution of Parliament until its due date in 2023.

According to Anwar, his new coalition is composed of his colleagues in Pakatan Harapan as well as MPs from the current ruling bloc but does not yet include Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s faction of ex-PPBM MPs.