PETALING JAYA: Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin appears to be “losing the top role” in the opposition coalition, following a recent meeting between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, a former minister said.
Salleh Said Keruak, who previously suggested that PN is looking to project the former two-time prime minister as its de facto leader, said no one could blame PAS for choosing Mahathir over Muhyiddin.
“Mahathir’s track record is far more impressive,” the former communications minister said in a Facebook post today.
He said Hadi is determined to keep gains made by PAS in the last general election (GE15) and state elections, as he wants to keep the momentum of the “green wave” going.
Salleh said that because Muhyiddin is politically ambitious, he would not take the recent developments “lying down” and may explore other options.
“I believe that just like Mahathir, Muhyiddin believes that in politics, there is no permanent enemy. He has to rely on himself to safeguard his political interests and ambitions.”
Earlier this month, a top-level PAS delegation, which included the menteris besar of the four states it governs, called on Mahathir to discuss economic development in their states.
Joining Hadi and PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan at the 90-minute meeting with Mahathir were menteris besar Shukri Ramli (Perlis), Sanusi Nor (Kedah), Nassuruddin Daud (Kelantan), and Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar (Terengganu).
On Sept 14, Samsuri announced that an official grouping of the four state governments under PN control, dubbed “state government four” (SG4), with Mahathir as an unofficial adviser, was in the works.
Salleh, in a separate post, said Mahathir will make a serious effort to bring in huge foreign investments to these four states to achieve his end game – a political comeback.
Since these four states were Malay states, he said, attracting foreign investment would enable him to consolidate the support of the Malay population.
Salleh, a former Sabah chief minister, said Mahathir was keen to work with PAS despite being at odds with the party previously, as he wanted the Malay support “very badly”.
PAS, for its part, wants to work with the former Langkawi MP to attract moderate Malays and non-Malays.
“Mahathir always propagates that the end justifies the means. That is why to him, there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies,” Salleh said.