Banker Nazir Abdul Razak, the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, has initiated the formation of a new non-partisan political party to reach out to all races, the Asia Sentinelhas reported.
The report said the new party seeks to "dramatically redraw the country's political landscape" and put an end to divisive racial politics.
Nazir, who heads the CIMB Bank, is reported to have approached former deputy education minister Saifuddin Abdullah, one of Umno's few liberal-minded leaders, to lead the new party.
"Nazir's friends have advised him that he must emerge as the prime mover, or it won't work.
"Saifuddin (photo), as much as he is respected as a moderate, doesn't have the widespread clout to attract support," says the report.
When contacted by Malaysiakini, Saifuddin declined to comment on the matter.
The Asia Sentinel report comes amid the start of Pakatan Rakyat's disintegration and increasingly cozy ties between PAS and Umno.
This, said the report, has set the stage for possible political realignments, as BN component parties - MCA and MIC - might ditch Umno for more favourable partners.
Nazir, who is a widely respected banker and son of Malaysia's second prime minister, could provide the platform for a new coalition, it said.
Muhyiddin 'not acceptable'
Over the past few months, Nazir had shown himself to be critical of Putrajaya's policies, especially in the handling of the 1MDB controversy, giving him an air of credibility.
And unlike other unsuccessful political upstarts, the report noted that Nazir and his business cohorts are very capable of raising the funds necessary.
Asia Sentinel added that former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the prime mover in the bid to oust Najib, is willing to wait until Umno’s annual general meeting late this year to install Muhyiddin as prime minister.
“Muhyiddin is hardly acceptable to Nazir’s moderates. He is a Malay nationalist himself and, at age 67, has amassed a fortune of suspicious size,” said the report.
“His son, Fakri, is also involved in many business deals, including a RM4.1 billion contract supplying 4G computers and Internet study to rural schools.
“He is partner to YTL in the project, called Bestarinet, which was reportedly engineered by Muhyiddin himself to YTL and which opposition leaders and teachers say is a failure.”