Kit Siang: Why did Zahid capitulate after 30 days of ‘Malaysian Game of Thrones’?

Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is seen chatting with Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur court complex July 28, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is seen chatting with Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the Kuala Lumpur court complex July 28, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 — DAP leader Lim Kit Siang questioned today why Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi issued a sudden call for a political ceasefire, having fuelled talks of an unlikely alliance that would see a new government formed.

Lim said Zahid’s statement came after nearly 30 days of deep political intrigue that he described as “Malaysian Game of Thrones”, a reference to the backroom dealing between various players from both sides of the political divide in a bid to wrest federal power.

Games of Thrones is a television series that cable channel operator HBO adapted from a line of fantasy novels known for their labyrinth of plots and power manoeuvrings between key characters that attempt to assert total dominance. 

“The past week confirmed what I said last Thursday that Malaysia was  in the midst of an unprecedented political tornado with  plots, sub-plots, counter-plots and counter-sub-plots emerging from the woodworks over the shape and form of the government of Malaysia,” Lim said in a statement.

“But suddenly, with the statement by the Umno President, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s yesterday  reaffirming Umno’s support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and the Perikatan Nasional government, Malaysia’s Game of Thrones seemed to have ground to a halt,” he added.

Zahid surprised many after he issued a statement yesterday evening calling for a “political ceasefire”, and a directive for all party leaders to commit to the Muhyiddin administration and focus its energy on efforts to contain Covid-19.

The assertion came just weeks after the Umno chief was alleged to have issued a letter pledging support for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to form a new government, which the party later denied.

Zahid’s ceasefire call has since raised doubt if the deal forged with Anwar would pull through.

Lim suggested the Umno president may have capitulated after seeing his plan backfire.

There are factions in Umno that oppose the idea of colaborating with Anwar and the DAP, while PAS, which has formed a pact with Umno called Muafakat Nasional, has refused to withdraw support for Muhyiddin as Umno attempted to put pressure on PN to demand more concessions.

“Maybe the Umno leadership has found, to its shock, that it could find no support from PAS in the Game of Thrones,” Lim said.

“And if the Game of Thrones comes to a crunch, it can neither expect PAS to come on board nor a united Umno parliamentary bloc to blindly support the decision of Zahid and Najib Razak.”

Zahid’s immediate predecessor, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is alleged to be among those supportive of Anwar’s takeover bid.

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