Anwar granted audience with King next Tuesday

Speculation is strong that Anwar has the backing of at least 15 MPs from Umno, besides his PH allies


OPPOSITION leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture) yesterday said he will have a royal audience with the King next week to prove he has parliamentary majority to form a new government.

Anwar said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had agreed to grant him an audience next Tuesday, where he will present documentation of the “strong and convincing majority” claim he made two weeks ago in a bid to oust Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“I would like to express my gratitude to His Majesty for granting me an audience to meet on Tuesday, Oct 13, 2020, inshaAllah,” Anwar said in a statement.

The PKR leader initially secured an audience scheduled for Sept 22 to present his case, but it was postponed because the King was admitted to the National Heart Institute due toill-health. Anwar had then said he had control of nearly two-thirds of the 222 seats in the Parliament, without disclosing who had pledged support.

Initial reactions suggested he had the support of his Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies, including those in Sabah. Speculation was also strong that Anwar has the backing of at least 15 MPs from Umno.

While key members of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition had signed a joint statement on Wednesday to reaffirm support for Muhyiddin as PM, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said several MPs from Umno — the largest in the ruling bloc — had indicated support for Anwar.

Anwar’s bid to form a new government without revealing the numbers backing him had created a wave of uncertainty ahead of a crucial snap election in Sabah, which Muhyiddin won.

In a press conference last month, Anwar said he had a “formidable and convincing support” from the MPs to present to the King.

“With this strong and convincing majority, at this moment, it means that the government led by Muhyiddin has fallen,” Anwar had said then.

Muhyiddin’s government has come under fire over the recent rise in coronavirus cases in the country.

Malaysia yesterday reported five new deaths — the highest daily record so far — with 375 new Covid-19 cases. Sabah continued to report the highest number of new infections among the states.

Muhyiddin had earlier described Anwar’s claims as a “mere allegation” and told him to prove his majority through processes recognised by the constitution. “Until proven otherwise, the PN government still stands firm and I am the legal PM,” he said in a statement.

Muhyiddin took over the premiership in March and has since survived on a wafer-thin majority. PH leaders have cried foul over PN’s political coup to wrest federal power, accusing Muhyiddin of power grab.

The King has powers to appoint a PM who in his view is likely to command a majority in Parliament. He could also dissolve Parliament and trigger elections on the advice of the PM.