By Tay Tian Yan, Sin Chew Daily
The crack within the Pakatan Harapan pact is widening. Taping the crack will not help much but is utterly unsightly.
DAP's Lim Guan Eng and Amanah's Mat Sabu have issued statements on behalf of their parties to assert that they remain with Anwar Ibrahim, although they still very much hold dear to the "Mahathir-Anwar" formula with Tun Mahathir their preferred PM candidate.
I have the feeling that while DAP and Amanah support Anwar, they support Mahathir much more.
The two leaders insist PH must never engage in any negotiation with the "hidden hand" that brought down the PH government.
From what I understand, the so-called "hidden hand" is first and foremost Muhyiddin Yassin, and the contacts between Anwar and Muhyiddin is a "secret meant to be made public".
The two parties are worried if Anwar has struck some sort of agreement with Muhyiddin, both DAP and Amanah are poised to be washed out or substituted.
While these two parties want Mahathir to take charge, they don't want to lose PKR, either. They first hand out a carrot, claiming that they will remain one with Anwar, but then follow with a stick, to warn him not to have any deal with the "hidden hand".
Anwar says he will not accept Mahathir as PM again, but can consider offering him a minister mentor post.
So far Anwar has show no signs of compromise although he has refrained from openly turning against his PH allies. That said, the bottomline has been clearly drawn: absolutely no "Mahathir-Anwar" combo or Mahathir as PH++ PM candidate. He as PH chairman and opposition leader must be the one and only choice for PM candidate.
"Considering a minister mentor role" may even sound derogatory to the former PM.
Anwar has made some initiatives to get PKR to authorize him to negotiate with other parties, as if to tell his PH allies that he is not their political captive, and that PKR may not necessarily accept PH's terms.
Mahathir says he will not accept minister mentor post and will not work with Anwar again, although he will still cooperate with DAP and Amanah.
Mahathir still longs to be PM, but whatever next course of action he takes will not have Anwar as a factor. The good news is, he is no longer bound by Anwar; and the bad news is, he may lose the support of PKR's 38 MPs.
Among the moves Mahathir is going to take to bring down Muhyiddin include a no-confidence motion, or a statutory declaration to be handed to the King that will not include PKR's 38 names.
Mahathir needs to fill the 38-seat shortfall elsewhere. Appearing concurrently in Langkawi with Azmin Ali and Hishammuddin Hussein couldn't have been mere coincidence.
It no longer matters now whether the trio did have a secret meeting, but the leaked photo has created some space for imagination among the leaders of PN and PH of their looming unusual relationship.
With Mahathir and Anwar now openly breaking ranks, DAP and Amanah may end up nowhere. Leaning towards either side means losing the support of the other.
Parti Warisan Sabah will very likely go with Mahathir. In the end, PH++ will only last several months.
If DAP and Amanah insist on "Mahathir-Anwar" formula, it is foreseeable that a clear line will be drawn between them and PKR. PH is not just destined to split, but to fall.
PH++ has come to an end and PH finds itself at a crossroads, not knowing which way to head to next.