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Twists and turns before PM 10 takes oath

Some of the major events that happened last week prior Anwar’s appointment as PM 

PAKATAN Harapan chairman Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s wish of becoming Malaysia’s prime minister (PM) finally materialised on Nov 24 after the King consented to his appointment as Malaysia’s 10th PM. 

The appointment put into rest days of deadlock between him and Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after both leaders stake claims that they have the majority support from the elected representatives. 

While there will be various challenges waiting for Anwar and his unity government, let’s recap what transpired throughout last week leading to his appointment as PM. 

During the wee hours of Nov 20 before Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Salleh’s official GE15 result announcement, Muhyiddin said in a press conference that the coalition has garnered the necessary support from other parties or coalitions to form the new government. 

In the press conference, he also mentioned that he has received a letter from the Istana Negara but refused to divulge much details about it. 

Shortly after that, Anwar denied Muhyiddin’s claims in a press conference while stressing that he too has sufficient support from all the elected parliamentarians to form the new federal government. 

Elaborating further, Anwar said Muhyiddin can’t make a such claim because PH has entered into an understanding with other MPs to form the government post-GE15. 

While both coalitions continue to stake a claim that they have the majority support, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chairman Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg released a statement later in the day stating that GPS will join PN, Barisan Nasional (BN) and Gabungan Rakyat 

Sabah to form a stable government. Immediately after, BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi released a statement denying that BN is in any talks with GPS on forming a federal government with PN. To break the deadlock on which coalitions will be forming the new federal government, the Istana Negara in a statement on Nov 20 instructed party leaders with the most number of seats to inform the Yang di-Pertuan Agong of the agreed coalition to form the federal government. The leaders had until 2pm on Nov 21 to do so. 

On Nov 21, several PH and BN leaders were seen arriving at Seri Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur for a meeting. Among the leaders seen arriving for the meeting were PKR secretary general Datuk Seri Saifud- din Nasution, Anwar, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu, Umno secretary general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, MCA secretary general Chong Sin Woon and MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigne- swaran. 

The meeting agenda is rumoured to be on the possible alliance between the two coalitions in forming the federal government. 

Following requests from the political leaders, the Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara Datuk Seri Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said His Majesty had consented to the extension of time to 2pm of the following day. 

Prior to the extension announcement, PN secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin issued a statement saying the coalition has submitted more than 112 statutory declarations (SDs) signed by MPs, voicing their support to Muhyiddin in becoming the 10th PM, to the Istana Negara. 

The claim was, however, shot down by BN chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as he said any documents or SDs signed by its MPs will be deemed invalid because all BN MPs ought to follow the rulings and directives decided by the BN Supreme Council as they contested on the coalition ticket in GE15. 

Ahmad Zahid’s claim is backed by BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir’s claim that none of the 30 BN MPs supported Muhyiddin’s PM nomination. 

Umno VP Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob then mentioned on Nov 22 that BN Supreme Council have decided that the coalition would not be supporting any coalition to form the government and that they will remain as the opposition. 

As the impasse continues, the King granted an audience to both Anwar and Muhyiddin at the Istana Negara at 4.30pm on Nov 22. 

In the discussion, His Majesty had requested both PH and PN to work together in forming a unity government among other proposals, but PN rejected the notion as Muhyiddin claims that he has the backing of 115 MPs. 

As such, the King summons all 30BNMPsandGPSMPstothe palace on Nov 23 in an apparent bid to break the deadlock in the search for a new PM. Muhyiddin’s apparent rejection of His Majesty’s suggestion received brickbats from NGOs and political leaders alike. 

After meeting with representatives from both BN and GPS, Agong announced that he will have a Special Meeting of the Malay Rulers on Nov 24 to discuss the formation of the new government. 

On Nov 24, Umno announced that they will be part of a unity government that is not led by PN and that all their party representatives will comply and accept any form of a unity government or any other forms of a government that has been proposed by His Majesty. 

Around 1pm, PN made an about-turn on their previous stand and said its Supreme Council has agreed to consider the King’s proposal on the formation of a unity government. 

The change in decision might too late for the coalition as half hour later, Istana Negara issued a statement stating that the King has consented to the appointment of Anwar as Malaysia’s 10th PM. 

The appointment was finalised after His Majesty deliberated the opinions of the Malay Rulers who convened a special meeting at Istana Negara earlier. 

Anwar was, subsequently, sworn in as PM following the presentation of the instrument of appointment and the swearing-in ceremony held at Istana Negara at 5pm on Nov 24. TMR 

  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition

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