KUALA LUMPUR, July 20 — No decision has yet been made by Pakatan Harapan (PH) on a federal shadow Cabinet as the Opposition coalition feels a greater need to prepare for a possible snap election.
Several sources from the Opposition who spoke on condition of anonymity said the focus should be on electoral matters amid persistent rumours of early elections due to the precarious standing of the Perikatan National (PN) government.
“In Parliament, they don’t command a good majority, and outside, you see Umno leaders openly criticising Bersatu.
“PH needs to prepare for it,” a source close to PH told Malay Mail when asked about the matter.
Another source from Parti Amanah Negara said the PH presidential council has not decided on creating a shadow Cabinet, but disclosed that there had been some discussion among a few MPs at a lower level.
“No discussion or decision made on the shadow Cabinet in the PH presidential meeting.
“Some of the MPs, from PKR, DAP and us, however, have talked about it for a while,” the second source said, without elaborating.
On July 3, PKR announced a list of parliamentary spokesmen and their deputies, similar to that of a shadow Cabinet, with specific party leaders appointed to shadow the portfolios of ministers within the federal government.
Its strategic communications director Fahmi Fadzil denied that the list was a sign that PKR is ready to go it alone without the Opposition alliance.
“This is only a list of assignments for PKR MPs,” he responded in a media chat group when asked about the list.
However, PH in at least one state appears to have accepted its return to the Opposition ranks. On July 6, Johor PH formed a shadow Cabinet to serve as a check-and-balance to the PN-led state government and its policies.
Nationally, PH seems to be moving in a different direction following its highly publicised discord over the prime ministerial candidate last month.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has insisted that PH has always chosen him as its prime minister nominee while estranged ally Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his group of independent MPs claimed that the coalition’s component parties DAP and Amanah mooted Parti Warisan Sabah’s Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as the candidate.
Speculations on GE15 being called ahead of 2023 when the current mandate expires has been growing as several Umno and PAS leaders have openly called for it even as some of their senior party leaders downplay the pressure.
Among those with clout is Pekan MP and former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak who on June 18 said an early general election is necessary because of PN’s razor-thin parliamentary majority.
PN currently occupies only 113 out of 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat.
This tenuous advantage could be in jeopardy when votes are called on government Bills or policies.
As example, last Monday, just 111 of 221 MPs present voted in favour of the prime minister’s motion to remove Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof as Dewan Rakyat Speaker with 109 votes against.
One lawmaker in the 222-member body was absent during voting while deputy speaker Mohd Rashid Hasnon abstained as he presided over the poll.
Ariff, a former judge and who is not an MP was appointed by the previous administration under PH.