Analysts see Mahathir-Anwar feud as hurdle to grand coalition

(FMT) – Pakatan Harapan (PH) can work towards setting up a grand coalition only if it can make Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim settle their differences, according to political analysts.

They told FMT, PH would probably need to pass this hurdle before even planning to expand itself as a coalition.

Former Universiti Teknologi Malaysia lecturer Azmi Hassan said the main challenge could be persuading Mahathir and Anwar to rise above their egos.

He said PH could use the two for different political purposes, such as using Mahathir’s charisma to pull opposition parties into the new coalition and proposing Anwar as the next prime minister because of his popularity.

After all, he added, both were keen on ousting Perikatan Nasional and their failure to work together might see the governing coalition benefiting in the next general election.

Yesterday, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu said his party was prepared to play the role of peacemaker to bring opposition parties together to form a grand coalition for the coming polls.

Sivamurugan Pandian of Universiti Sains Malaysia said the opposition needed to work with as many political parties as possible to win the next general election.

He said Amanah could get the ball rolling through discussions and negotiations, but at the end of the day, “all dominant personalities need to explore different possibilities for Anwar and Mahathir to work together.”

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said Amanah and DAP would still want Mahathir in PH in order to move forward.

The two parties were grateful to Mahathir for giving them strategic positions when the coalition was in power, he said.

He noted that important posts, such as that of finance minister, did not go to PKR and he said this might have been because Mahathir wanted to prevent those close to Anwar from controlling the important ministries.

Because of its gratitude, he added, Amanah might continue with its narrative that Mahathir was still needed in PH.