The Pakatan Harapan wild card

Philip Golingai

Some politicians seem to be more interested in cashing in their MP chip and building their own political stakes rather than the rakyat’s future.

THE Pakatan Harapan government is like a house of cards. It is a political structure built out of playing cards – PKR, DAP, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and Amanah plus its ally Parti Warisan Sabah – which are precariously balanced together. Take a card out and the coalition of hope collapses.

In a tweet on Friday, Umno secretary-general and Ketereh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa illustrated how the Pakatan Harapan deck could fall.

He tweeted: “The vote of confidence and matter related to the transition from the seventh PM (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) to the eighth PM is the business of the Pakatan Harapan government. If PM7 decides to quit and he has said after Apec (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in November) and DSAI (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim) gets support from 112 of the 138 PH MPs, then there’s no issue. But if 26 or more MPs from PH don’t agree?”

The “if” scenario is possible.

There are Pakatan Harapan politicians – such as Anwar’s deputy president, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali – who want to shuffle the cards to scuttle Anwar Ibrahim’s bid to become Prime Minister. In the making is the Pakatan Nasional house of cards.

To build this coalition – its name was coined by sacked Umno supreme council member Datuk Lokman Noor Adam – what is needed are cards from both government and Opposition parties. However, Lokman has claimed DAP (except for MPs leaving the party), Anwar and MPs loyal to the PKR president, and Datuk Seri Najib Razak and parliamentarians aligned to the former prime minister, would not be part of the proposed new government coalition.

Can a Pakatan Nasional house of cards stand?


The numbers do not stack up: 26 Bersatu MPs + 18 PAS MPs + 30 Barisan Nasional MPs + 15 Azmin-aligned PKR MPs + 9 Warisan MPs = 98 MPs. This isn’t enough, as it would take at least 112 out of 222 MPs to form the government.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak, consisting of four Sarawak-based parties with 18 MPs, could be the joker in the pack. But at a supreme council meeting on Feb 6, GPS decided it will remain neutral and not support Pakatan Nasional.

So, has the Pakatan Nasional deal folded?

Politicians and political analysts I spoke to say the Machiavellian card dealer might have an ace up his sleeve.

The dealer could raise the stakes. For example, he could offer a favourable oil and gas deal to the GPS state government.

He could shuffle and deal to collapse the house of cards in the state governments of Kedah, Melaka and Perak.

Interestingly, back in October, a Pakatan Harapan minister at a party emergency meeting had warned that “a back-door government was a real and imminent threat, starting with the possible collapses of state governments in Melaka, Perak and Kedah”.

When you put the cards – Bersatu, PAS and Umno – on the table, the three parties have enough assemblymen to form a government in these three states without Pakatan Harapan parties.

Pakatan Harapan chairman and Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir is playing his cards close to his chest.

The Prime Minister’s political actions, according to Khairul Azwan Harun, principal advisor at the Centre for Governance and Political Studies, is very difficult to read.


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