PETALING JAYA,Oct 7: A former deputy defence minister said today irrespective of whether Anwar Ibrahim has the majority to form a new government, the PKR president’s claim has weakened the prime minister.
Liew Chin Tong cited a similar claim made by Anwar in 2008, which he said undermined then prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said Anwar’s claim led Abdullah’s rivals, former prime minister Najib Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin, to confront him and demand he cede the finance ministry portfolio to Najib.
“A week later, Najib and Muhyiddin pressed Abdullah again, this time forcing him to announce his retirement, effective the following year,” he said in an opinion piece published in the South China Morning Post today.
Last month, Anwar announced that he had the numbers to form a new government.
He said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to grant him an audience, though this had to be postponed after the King was admitted to the National Heart Institute (IJN).
The opposition leader also said that the majority of MPs supporting him were Malay-Muslim.
Liew, said while it was again unclear whether Anwar indeed had the numbers to form the government, it was hard to foresee how DAP and Amanah would be willing to cooperate with Umno.
It is also unclear, he said, how the mainstream faction of Umno would be prepared to work with DAP.
“Nonetheless, Anwar’s claims dial up the pressure on Muhyiddin,” Liew, who is also the Johor DAP chairman, wrote.
But Muhyiddin, he said, could yet continue to rule with a minority government if he managed to split Umno into two, and provided his opponents were unable to reach a consensus.
Liew said, alternatively, Muhyiddin could make further concessions to Umno to keep them in his coalition, including appointing a senior Umno leader as deputy prime minister.
However, he said, this would also see Umno hold Muhyiddin hostage.
“Unless he can find a way to strike some grand bargain with Umno or drive a wedge between its various factions, or agree to a ceasefire with the opposition, a snap election seems increasingly likely, even if no one can confidently predict its result.”