Friday, July 10, 2020

What's Dr M's game plan?

Dr M doesn't accept Harapan's choice of PM, which is Anwar, and he plans to continue with his efforts to make his choice, Shafie, the PM should Perikatan get toppled.

Now, if you do the math, you will see that he basically has 14 people in his block (5 formerly from Bersatu and 9 from Warisan). That's all he's got: 14.

So, on what basis does he think he can get at least 112 MPs on his side? There is only one possibility I can think of, which is the following sequence of assumptions:

He can get GPS to switch sides. That gives him another 18. So, his total would add up to 14 + 18 = 32.

Even if he believes he can get DAP and Amanah to support his coalition, that would be only another 42 + 11 = 53. That gives him a grand total of 32 + 53 = 85. Still far short of the 112 he needs to control Parliament.

PKR has 38. If you add that into the mix, you will have 123, a comfortable majority.

So, no matter what, he needs PKR to be on board. How does he hope to do so? Probably not by appealing directly to PKR. He and Anwar are at loggerheads. No, he is probably hoping that should he manage to get GPS on board, both DAP and Amanah would pressure PKR to hop on board.

That must be his calculation. There is no other configuration I can think of that would work.

PAS also has 18 MPs, but he can't bring PAS into the coalition, Amanah and DAP would object. He can't bring UMNO into the equation. Again, Amanah and DAP would object.

The only bloc that he could possibly bring in is GPS, with its 18 MPs, and even then, he would still need PKR for its 38 MPs.

So, he must be banking on peer pressure from Amanah and DAP for PKR to give in and agree to join his coalition, on his terms.

Politics is the art of the impossible but this is soooooo not gonna happen.

He's over-estimating Amanah and DAP's ability to sway PKR, and underestimating PKR's resolves not to fooled by him again. "Once bitten, twice shy," as they say.

Dr M may have a game plan but it's one that he's bound to lose.

Zahid tells it like it is

BN wants to contest all 'traditional' seats, Zahid says Umno "owns" Bersatu seat.

Enough said.

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Choice words from Annuar Musa

"For the time being, we stand with the prime minister," said Annuar Musa.

The operative word here is "for the time being". Ahem!

Choice words from Shahrir Samad

"BN not only has to share with Bersatu but also the G10 comprising supporters of Azmin Ali," Shahrir said, adding that "Azmin and his G10 does not even have a party."

Monday, July 06, 2020

Anwar checkmates Dr M

Dr M is used to getting his way. When he was premier for 22 years the first time around, he had his way on practically everything and outfoxed every foe he came across.

In his 22 months as premier for the second time around, the rest of Pakatan Harapan allowed him to pretty much have his way on everything. And he threw it all away in an amazing display of hubris by abruptly resigning without consulting any of the coalition partners.

Of course he thought by doing so, we would be able to start with a clean slate and pick whomever he wanted from both the Harapan side and the Muafakat side (UMNO + PAS), to form what he called a "unity government" — one in which everyone was accountable to him while he was accountable to no one.

Not only did Harapan reject this, so did Muafakat, leaving him with the support of a total of five Bersatu members (including himself).His own trusted lieutenant, Muhyiddin, and his blue-eyed boy, Azmin, went on to betray him and set up Perikatan.

Dr M's response? He went on to criticize Anwar while trying to reorganize a Harapan Plus coalition that would presumably include GPS in order to win back control over the Parliament. PKR, not surprisingly, balked at this idea.

To which Dr M then gave an ultimatum. If PKR was not willing to work with him to defeat Muhyiddin, he would proceed without PKR and just work with DAP, Amanah, Warisan and presumably GPS, to form the majority he needed.

I'm not sure why Dr M didn't do the math. Even if he were to secure the support of Harapan Plus and GPS, without PKR (which at last count, had 38 MPs) there is no way he can get the numbers to form a majority.

He also erroneously assumed that DAP and Amanah would abandon PKR if they had to choose between him and Anwar. That is a major flaw in his thinking. Yes, DAP and Amanah would have preferred it if Anwar could accept Dr M as PM. But if push came to shove, and they had to decide between the two, the answer is obvious who they would back.

And sure enough, they have come out with a statement that they back Anwar as their PM candidate. This should come as no surprise to anyone though I somehow think Dr M will be surprised when he hears the news.

Like I said, he's used to having things his way but he's been miscalculating every step of the way ever since he decided to resign in order to try to form his so-called unity government.

Harapan members have been through thick and thin together. Why should DAP and Amanah desert PKR in order to join forces with the remnants of Dr M's Bersatu?

Besides, I think DAP and Amanah also did the math. Dr M has five MPs. If you include Warisan's nine MPs, you will have a grand total of 14 MPs. Even if you were to throw in GPS's 18 members, that only adds up to 32. PKR alone has 38.

More importantly, DAP and Amanah know full well that GPS would not be a reliable partner, even if it were to agree to cross over in the first place (which is rather uncertain). Warisan has never declared its allegiance to Harapan, only to Dr M. As for Dr M himself, well, we know his track record.

So, the choice was obvious for both DAP and Amanah: Go with a bunch of parties that are not even part of Harapan or stick with a trusted ally which is a founding member of Harapan.

It makes all the sense in the world for DAP and Amanah to stick with PKR. Together they have 91 MPs. That's 21 MPs shy of forming a majority. So, can they win an additional 21 more seats in GE15? Let's look at the numbers.

Bersatu contested in 52 seats in GE14 (and won 13). Harapan must contest in all 52 of those seats. For good measure, Harapan should also contest in all the 17 seats that Warisan had contested in. That's a total of 69 (52 + 17) seats, of which Harapan must win at least 21 of them.

Not easy. But not impossible either. It's what they need to do. There's no point in relying on deals with GPS or Warisan or the remnants of Dr M's Bersatu, to form the majority. Harapan needs to get the majority on its own.

Then, if they want to, they can consider — from a position of strength — whether to accept other parties who wish to make up the "Plus" in Harapan Plus. Crucially, by having a majority on its own, Harapan would not be held to ransom by any "kingmaker" who can threaten to destroy the coalition if it doesn't get what it wants.

This must be the strategy that Harapan goes for: Aim to win GE15 on its own rather than to try to pull off some kind of counter coup that puts it at the mercy of kingmakers.