COMMENTARY, Nov 21 — Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) has until tomorrow to decide which coalition to support, to make up the numbers to form the new federal government.
Both Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Pakatan Harapan (PH) are working hard to win over BN which lost the just concluded general election with just 30 seats.
As the saying goes, every storm has a silver lining and BN now finds itself the kingmaker in the present impasse as both coalitions race against time to present their cases to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA).
To work with PN which has Bersatu as the dominant party, BN fears playing second fiddle as Bersatu was formed in 2016 to eliminate Umno and replace it as the only Malay nationalist party and in the long term Umno’s role as the champion of Malays would diminish.
Working with PH is better as it will be treated equally as other parties in the coalition but the presence of DAP may “scare” away Malay support.
The original deadline to present their cases to the Agong was 2pm today but the Agong has consented to give the parties another day.
BN chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and team met PH chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and team at Seri Pacific hotel just beside Umno headquarters today.
Ahmad Zahid and team have yet to meet PN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Meanwhile in Perak, PH and BN will be forming a joint government ahead of whatever decision to be made by the two coalitions at federal level.
BN must make a choice because if it were to remain as opposition, its role will be greatly diminished.