Talks on for interim govt if PN collapses, say insiders

Veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is being proposed as an interim prime minister by some quarters. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: As talks between PPBM and Umno continue, several BN MPs are said to be pushing for an interim government assisted by a handful of ministers and a National Consultative Council (NCC).

A BN insider said some see this as an alternative if Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government fails to get majority support during Budget 2021 in the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting.

He said several individuals are pushing for Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to be the interim prime minister if the present day government collapses.

“By right, fresh polls need to be held if the government collapses but since we are in the middle of a Covid-19 crisis, an interim government could be set up,” he told FMT.

The insider, with close links to these talks, said they want Tengku Razaleigh to be assisted by a maximum of 17 ministers, aided by the NCC, just like the committee set up after the 1969 race riots.

The proposed NCC is suggested to be made up of MPs from both sides of the political divide

He added the group, which is close to Ku Li, wants to hold the 15th general election (GE15) by March when the Covid-19 pandemic settles.

“From November to March, there are proposals for an interim government if Muhyiddin fails to get support in Parliament,” he added.

Yesterday, the country saw a record high of 869 Covid-19 cases. Many new clusters have been emerging daily.

On Oct 13, after opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim had a royal audience with the King, Umno revealed that they were considering pulling out of Perikatan Nasional if their demands for power sharing with PPBM are not met. Both parties are now in the midst of negotiations.

Umno leaders feel sidelined by PPBM, despite having the most number of MPs when the present coalition was formed in February this year.

This unhappiness was compounded after the Sabah polls as the chief minister’s post went to PPBM, causing restlessness as Umno felt the cooperation with PPBM may not be benefiting them.

Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman had said Umno is pushing for a deputy prime minister’s post and a Cabinet reshuffle to strengthen the party’s position in PN.

Another BN insider said several Umno MPs are also hoping to name their party president, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, as the deputy prime minister if PPBM agrees with their demands.

“There are several factions in Umno, with each camp having their proposals in the hope of strengthening the party in the government,” he said.