KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s support is vital if PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is to form a new government, former education minister Maszlee Malik said today.
The Simpang Renggam MP said success will not be possible without both sides supporting each other, citing the last general election when Pakatan Harapan (PH) won to back his claim.
“It was proven in the previous general elections that Datuk Seri Anwar’s maximum strength is 78 to 80 MPs in the peninsula. Adding the DAP and PKR MPs in Sabah and Sarawak, this can reach up to 92 seats, making it a formidable Opposition bloc,” he said on his blog.
But for PH to return to being government after winning the 14th general election in 2018 necessitates Dr Mahathir playing a role, Maszlee said.
“If Datuk Seri can only reach 92 seats but not surpass (the parliamentary minimum) of 112 seats, this can only be achieved with Tun Dr Mahathir’s help. Indeed, it is plausible to not only pass 112 MPs but possibly reach 130 seats.
“If properly negotiated and arranged, Tun Dr Mahathir can ramp it up to even 148 seats. This is analogous to using a staff to collect rambutan fruit, by combining Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar, the staff becomes longer and can reach further,” he said.
Maszlee added that any negotiation to retake Putrajaya from Perikatan Nasional (PN) and selecting the ninth prime minister should not be on the basis that the position is Anwar’s absolute right, based on numbers alone.
“It is clear that without Tun Dr Mahathir the opportunity to retake the government is slim if not altogether impossible. The present position for Pakatan Harapan is 107 seats, with Datuk Seri Anwar only reaching 91 seats.
“This leaves another five more seats to obtain the proverbial fruit on the branches. Despite both figures having lost much influence due to the treachery of their immediate subordinates within their respective parties, we must ask the realistic question of who still has sufficient influence to negotiate and obtain the remaining five seats needed to form a government?” he asked.
Maszlee said the “new political norm” in Malaysia is a numbers game for MPs, as seen in February when the PH coalition fell after a large number of MPs switched sides in what has been dubbed the “Sheraton Move”.
“With Tun Dr Mahathir’s metaphorical staff alongside five MPs and Parti Warisan Sabah, the 112 minimum can be achieved. This is in addition to the MPs with Parti Pribumi Bersatu MPs in Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s faction who are in a dilemma and questioning their position, coupled with several Umno MPs who have become sick and tired of their party’s corrupt and kleptocratic culture.
“Once the number of 112 is achieved, the staff can be used again to further increase it to 130. In a sense, the staff will be able to shake the branches to reach the 18 rambutans, no matter the height. And once 130 seats have been realised, the remaining 17 fruits will be ripe for the picking, thereby leading to a stable government with at least 148 MPs,” he said.
Maszlee concluded by saying this is the only method for Pakatan to retake the government, and save the nation from corruption and decay.