IPOH,. Barely half a year as the Perak Mentri Besar, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu is now facing the threat of a no-confidence vote from his fellow Pakatan Harapan (PH) assemblymen.
Despite that, he is unruffled, a source from his office told Malay Mail, because the potential ouster has not managed to gain the necessary support it needed.
“He knows the other parties do not have the numbers,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to the other PH component parties.
“If they have, they would have gone to the Sultan to seek a dissolution of the state assembly.”
The same source also said that not all the 30 PH assemblymen share the same sentiment that Ahmad Faizal should be removed. The four component parties similarly appear divided on the matter.
In the 59-seat state assembly, DAP holds 18 seats, Parti Amanah Negara six, PKR four, and Ahmad Faizal’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia merely two.
“That is why Umno assemblymen were approached,” said the source.
Rumours of an internal ouster surfaced last Saturday when state Opposition Leader Datuk Saarani Mohamad revealed that there was a high possibility Perak could face snap polls, pointing to a move, allegedly by the state executive councillors, to topple Ahmad Faizal and that Umno lawmakers had been approached.
Ahmad Faizal has dismissed talks of a bipartisan conspiracy to remove him from office, describing it as just “coffee shop talk” and refused to comment on the matter further.
But another source from one of the PH component parties confirmed the internal ouster is real.
“But it was not through a vote of no-confidence,” said the man who asked not to be identified, nor his party named.
The insider said a representative from his party approached the Umno assemblymen and asked if they were happy with Ahmad Faizal’s leadership.
“The representative told them if they were unhappy, something should be done,” he said.
“There is a lot of unrest on the ground,” the source added.
He claimed that Ahmad Faizal had made numerous missteps since becoming MB, fuelling discontent within PH.
“From turning up late for meetings to removing portfolio of excos, you name it, he has done it. Even a simple thing of appointing village chiefs could not be done fast as he is perpetually not around.
“If he does not step down, the state will suffer. If he loves the state, he should step down,” the insider said.
Despite his harsh criticism, the insider conceded that the PH administration just cannot afford to call a state election.
“Take it from me, we cannot do a state election,” he said, but declining to explain further.
Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman political science lecturer Teh Boon Teck said there was “an obvious attempt” by Umno to divide the Perak PH government.
“When there is smoke, there is fire. Even though the attempt was initiated by Umno, within the state government itself there are different views held by different component parties towards the state administration and policies.
“For example, the mentri besar saying no to 99-year land titles for New Village folks while Amanah and DAP hold the opposite stand. This is where Umno took advantage of the situation,” he said.
Teh also believes that the odds would be stacked against the mentri besar if the state assemblymen revolted against him.
“Ahmad Faizal is appointed as the mentri besar despite PPBM having only one seat and the support from the two former Umno members: Datuk Nolee Ashilin Mohd Radzi and Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharudin.
“Thus, Ahmad Faizal’s refusal to fulfill the demand from the component party leaders could put him at risk,” he said.
However, Teh downplayed the possibility of a constitutional crisis similar to 2009, saying the political situation is different now.
“If it is true that there are some excos who wanted to support Umno to form a government, I don’t see how the person will benefit as the federal government is still under PH.
“If there is a replacement, it will be a PH Malay leader and definitely not from Umno. So I don’t think so there will be a constitutional crisis,” he added.