KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is set to announce Perikatan Nasional (PN) as an official entity next week on the Merdeka Day, sources familiar with the matter have told Malay Mail.
Speaking anonymously, sources said the pact will consist of at least five parties: Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS, MIC, and two Sabah parties — Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) and Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP).
PN’s first foray as an entity would be the Sabah state election next month, with Gabungan Parti Sarawak also set to back the coalition.
“The announcement is likely to coincide with Merdeka Day, a symbolic date for the government,” one source told Malay Mail.
This comes as last Sunday, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi revealed four of the five parties that have formally registered to join PN: MIC, STAR, Bersatu and PAS.
Meanwhile, SAPP, led by former Sabah chief minister Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee, only joined discussions last month before making its intention public just this week.
“Both STAR and SAPP want better seats and cooperation for the Sabah state election,” said another source from Sabah.
The launch of PN was already hinted at on Saturday by Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, whose entry into Bersatu was just officially announced.
Another source close to Azmin also said that the senior minister is expected to be named as PN’s information chief at the launch ceremony, serving as the official spokesman of the pact.
Azmin has already been informally described as PN’s self-styled information chief in several of their events and in media reports.
Despite that, another source cautioned that the launch ceremony may not even happen on August 31, as there are still hiccups involving ally Umno that currently holds the most number of MPs supporting the PN government.
Last month, Umno president Ahmad Zahid said that his party will not join the informal PN coalition that controls the federal government, instead focusing on developing the Muafakat Nasional partnership with PAS and the rest of Barisan Nasional.
The source said that the top leadership of Umno, PAS and Bersatu are still holding talks about their cooperation as the Slim by-election is set to conclude this week, with the Sabah state election next.
“Discussion is currently very intense. Originally, Perikatan Nasional projected 12 parties to join under the coalition,” said the source.
“The discussion on coalition has also been intertwined with seat allocation for the parties. Not just for Sabah state election but the upcoming general election. At this time, nothing has concluded from the meetings yet,” he added.
He also referred to several statements from Umno leaders regarding seat negotiations with their allies, as well as pointing out photos uploaded by PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang on his social media depicting Muhyiddin, Zahid, Azmin and himself with other party leaders meeting at the sidelines of Parliament.
Earlier this week, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Umno will only be discussing seat allocations among fellow parties and not through individuals including those who recently joined Bersatu, such as Azmin.
Additionally, Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin also said the council has decided that BN will contest in seats that it had lost due to defections since the last general election.
On August 10, Bersatu vice-president Datuk Abdul Rashid Asari confirmed that the application of the coalition to be formally registered was submitted to the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
Later on August 18, Bersatu Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said PN needed to make slight changes to its name in order to be approved by the RoS.