KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 — The long-awaited official launch of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition has been postponed because of stumbling blocks in negotiations between Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and ally Umno, sources have told Malay Mail.
According to the sources that are familiar with the negotiations, Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has scrapped a plan to announce the pact during his visit to Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan this weekend in anticipation of the Sabah state election next month.
“The planned announcement was cancelled. The talks failed,” one source told Malay Mail without elaborating.
This comes just a day after Barisan Nasional (BN) component MIC confirmed on Thursday that it had backtracked from its initial decision to join the PN coalition.
MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran told Malay Mail that the party’s central working committee decided it will not join PN as BN parties did not join the coalition as it previously thought.
BN secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa later explained on Twitter that MIC would not be able to join another political pact on its own, as it is a component of BN.
A public war of words between top Umno and Bersatu leaders have now also threatened the advantage Muhyiddin had in the Parliament, especially with only four-seat majority.
Malay Mail understands that the deadlock is caused by tense seat negotiations between the parties as Bersatu is trying to accommodate the faction led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali that has just joined Bersatu in a ceremony last week after defecting from PKR.
A source who is privy to details in the meetings told Malay Mail that in the latest meeting held on Tuesday at the Parliament administration building, Azmin’s faction, known internally as G-10 for its group of 10 MPs, still cannot find a middle ground on cooperating
Yesterday, Bersatu’s former supreme council member Datuk Rais Hussin took issue with Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin over the latter’s attack on the former’s party, while Umno veteran Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah has also challenged Umno MPs to quit the Cabinet following Bersatu’s proposal to allow non-Bumiputera members.
Earlier on Friday, both Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also BN chairman, and Annuar had once again openly pushed for snap general election in order to realign the political power in the country.
Meanwhile another source in Sabah told Malay Mail that Muhyiddin and Bersatu are also currently negotiating with parties from the state to join the coalition.
“We are aware that Sabah’s Bersatu chief Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor is in talk with some of the other parties. Muhyiddin’s visit this week is also a continuation of the same discussion, said the source.
Muhyiddin is scheduled to meet state community leaders at the Sabah International Convention Centre this afternoon.
PN coalition currently has four component parties after MIC’s reversal. Two of them are Sabah parties: SAPP and Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR).
Other major Sabah parties — PBS, Upko and LDP were aligned with BN until 2018 when they left after the coalition lost the 14th general election.
Earlier this week, Malay Mail reported sources saying that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was set to announce Perikatan Nasional as an official entity next week on the Merdeka Day, with Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali set to be named as its information chief.
In May, two coalitions and four parties agreed to officially be part of PN, formerly an ad hoc arrangement to form a federal government.
The decision was announced in a joint statement by coalitions BN and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS, Parti Bersatu Sabah and STAR.
However last month, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that Umno has decided not to be a component party of Perikatan Nasional if the coalition is formally registered, but said it would instead focus on developing the Muafakat Nasional partnership with PAS and other BN parties.