Anwar bids to form a new govt

But his statement sowed confusion and was immediately denied by Muhyiddin, and other major parties in present govt

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by ARIF KARTONO

OPPOSITION leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) said he has secured more than enough support in the Dewan Rakyat to form a new government coalition and put an end to the six-month-old Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration.

The PKR president announced in a press conference yesterday that he has the support of MPs from parties that are now in the government coalition, to form a new, “strong government”, just shy of the landmark two-thirds majority.

“Conclusively, we have a strong, formidable majority,” he said at the packed press conference yesterday.

“We are not talking about four or five (majority), we are talking much more than that,” he said.

But his statement has sowed confusion. While the Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara, issued support for Anwar, his announcement was immediately denied by Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, as well as other major parties in the present government.

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) secretary general Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi said the party, which has 18 MPs in Parliament, is not among those who supported the move.

The components in the PN alliance — Barisan Nasional (BN), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PAS, GPS, Bersatu Sabah (PBS) and Sabah STAR — issued a joint statement signed by their respective secretaries general that they still backed Muhyiddin and dismissed Anwar’s claim of majority support.

However, in a statement circulated yesterday from BN’s Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, it acknowledged that a number of MPs from the Malay parties were supporting Anwar and that Umno could not stop them from doing so because there is no formal agreement with Bersatu.

Anwar refused to say how many MPs are supporting him, but that he was close to having two-thirds of the 222 total MPs in Parliament.

A two-third majority comprises at least 148 seats of the total 222.

Anwar’s announcement came just two days before the crucial state election in Sabah and raised speculation from PN backbenchers that it was meant to influence the outcome and little else.

However, Anwar said he has the solid evidence and documentary proof to present to the King to show that he has the support to topple the present government.

Anwar said he had an appointment for an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Tuesday to present his case, but that the audience was rescheduled because the King was admitted to the National Heart Institute.

The palace confirmed that Anwar was granted an audience with the King on Tuesday, and that it was postponed due to Sultan Abdullah’s health.

Having a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat would give an administration a powerful mandate to make policies, pass Acts and amend the Constitution on its own.

The PH government had 119 MPs when it took over the government in 2018.

It also has the support of PH ally, Parti Warisan Sabah, which has nine seats.

The PH government fell in February after many of its MPs crossed over to the Opposition, in what was dubbed as the Sheraton Move, to form the current PN government, but with 113 total MPs — just barely enough to form the majority.

Anwar now claimed that some MPs in the government — from across all parties — are ready to throw him support.

Meanwhile, the PH components — Amanah and DAP — have announced that all their MPs will back Anwar’s plan.

Amanah has 11 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, while DAP has 42.

Anwar’s plan is also to gain the support from former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which is leading the still unregistered Parti Pejuang Tanah Air. Dr Mahathir has a total of five MPs with him.

“He may be given his support later, but as of now, no,” Anwar said when asked about Dr Mahathir.

Warisan has not announced its stand on Anwar’s bid to become PM.

Dr Mahathir was quoted in reports yesterday that he will have to wait and see if this will be another “episode of claims that cannot be substantiated” from Anwar.

He said Anwar had previously tried to gather support for him to become PM, first was in 2008 and latest at the end of February when the Sheraton Move was triggered.

“However, this time could be different because Anwar had officially stated that he has a complete document, unlike in 2008.

“But we shall wait for details when he meets the Agong,” said Prof Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani of Universiti Utara Malaysia.

In a statement yesterday, Muhyiddin reaffirmed that he is still a legitimate PM and PN government will be functioning accordingly.

“Any claim (to form a new government) must be substantiated according to the Federal Constitution. Without this, it remains a mere allegation,” the PM said.

Mohd Azizuddin said Anwar is expected to take the advantage of the loose PN coalition, which is now only composed of Bersatu, PAS and PBS, while Umno had previously said it will not take part in the formation, but will support the current government.

He also did not dismiss any risk for snap polls at the federal level, as what had happened in Sabah.