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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Umno, PAS and Bersatu to meet over Anwar’s claim of ‘formidable’ parliamentary support

 Umno, PAS and Bersatu will meet this week over Anwar's claim of having 'formidable' support among lawmakers. ― Pictue by Miera Zulyana

Umno, PAS and Bersatu will meet this week over Anwar's claim of having 'formidable' support among lawmakers. ― Pictue by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The three main Malay parties — Umno, PAS and Bersatu — will meet this week to discuss PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claims to have “formidable” support among lawmakers including those from the government’s side.

Sources from Umno and Bersatu confirmed the matter to Malay Mail but would not disclose details of the meeting as some party leaders were under Covid-19 quarantine while others were fatigued from the Sabah state election campaign.

“Umno and PAS will meet over the matter (Anwar’s claim). Then Umno will meet Bersatu.

“The schedule of the meeting is secret but it will be done this week on Wednesday or Thursday,” one source said.

Another source from Bersatu corroborated this but declined to comment as it would contain private and confidential matters.

“Yes, there will be a high-level meeting,” he said.

Anwar claimed sensationally days before the Sabah election to have secured a “formidable” majority with which to form a new government and declared Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) federal administration effectively collapsed.

However, Anwar did not state the number of MPs he claimed were supporting him, saying he would only do so after an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Though initially seen as a ploy on Anwar’s part, Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi issued a cryptic statement acknowledging support for Anwar from within his coalition and party on the same day as the announcement.

This prompted Muafakat Nasional (MN) ally PAS to publicly demand that Umno and BN explain the matter.

PAS secretary-general Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan said last week that if what Zahid described was true, it would violate the formal accord his party signed with the Malay nationalist party.

In the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council meeting on Monday, reports emerged that DAP was unconvinced that Anwar managed to secure the support of Umno MPs as he inferred through his previous claim.

PH sources told Malay Mail that Anwar still would not disclose how many rival MPs he has won over, only that their backing did not come at a price.

“The support from Umno MPs for Anwar to take over the government is unconditional. However it is dependent on Anwar securing an audience with the King,” said a source from PKR.

Anwar has secured this audience, which Istana Negara confirmed, but it had to be postponed because Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was admitted to the National Heart Institute before this could take place.

Separately, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke told news portal Malaysiakini that not much detail was divulged during the meeting.

Officially, only PH component Parti Amanah Negara has confirmed its lawmakers — all 11 — supported Anwar in this.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng reiterated that his party’s 42 MPs would support Anwar’s takeover only if he has the majority to do so.

While rival parties and coalitions have denied supporting Anwar, it is noteworthy that he stressed during his announcement that he has the support of individual MPs rather than parties.

Assuming all of PH supported his bid, Anwar would have 91 seats for the 112 he needed.

Other Opposition lawmakers he could draw from might come from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (five), Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal’s Parti Warisan Sabah (nine), Upko (one), Parti Sarawak Baru (two), and a single seat from Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman’s Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda).

All combined, Anwar would still need at least three lawmakers from the government side before he could claim a simple majority. He purported to have a “formidable” majority earlier.

This means Anwar’s bud must draw support from across the political aisle.

While Istana Negara has since announced that the Agong was in good health, it said he was not expected to grant any audiences for at least the rest of this week as he remained under medical observation.

The Agong played a central role in the March crisis when he personally interviewed all of Malaysia’s 222 federal lawmakers before concluding that Muhyiddin commanded the confidence of the majority and appointed him the PM. - malaymail

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