KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's move to welcome former Opposition members and his statement that he will not hesitate to abandon Pakatan Harapan (PH) has caused tensions to rise within the coalition.
The Straits Times reported yesterday that Dr Mahathir already caused upset when he announced on February 15 that his party will enter Sabah. This is on top of reports that he brokered a deal with PAS for its support.
Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Oh Ei Sun told The Straits Times that Dr Mahathir “is not happy that he is constrained by DAP and PKR”, which collectively have 92 MPs.
“So he is broadening PH. This does not mean he wants to stay on forever, but that his legacy must stay forever. Of course, this also checkmates Anwar, so he is killing two birds with one stone,” Oh said in reference to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
However, the paper reported that not all of Dr Mahathir's allies are upset over a rapidly expanding PPBM.
PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali had said the defecting Umno leaders “can go to the ground and meet Umno members to explain the need to leave their rotten party”.
Eekmal Ahmad, the special officer to Selangor Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari, told The Straits Times that those criticising Dr Mahathir's “consolidation of power... do not understand political dynamics” of the crucial Malay majority.
“PKR or Bersatu are all in Harapan. A strong Bersatu means a strong PKR,” he added.