KUCHING, Aug 1 — Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg revealed today that the meeting between Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Opposition lawmakers was at the prime minister’s invitation.
Confirming that “some” lawmakers from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) also attended the meeting, the coalition chairman insisted they did not represent the whole and were part of a delegation that included MPs from PAS, Umno and even PKR.
“They (GPS MPs) did not come there representing GPS,” Abang Johari, who is GPS chairman, said when asked by reporters after he launched the 31st anniversary celebrations of Kuching’s city status.
“What happened was that there was an invitation by the prime minister (to GPS) and so were (the invitation) to other parties. They just wanted to have a chit-chat, that is all. There was nothing to it,” he said.
Asked if he was told what transpired at the meeting, Abang Johari said he knew of the meeting but not what was discussed.
Asked if he knew that the group wanted Dr Mahathir to continue as prime minister, he replied:”Maybe.”
He said GPS MPs should not be seen as supporting calls for Dr Mahathir to stay on as prime minister and were only at the meeting to “listen”.
“The people invited. The prime minister invited and the group invited, and I did not know there was a meeting, so they just attended the meeting,” he explained.
Earlier, Dr Mahathir admitted to a “secret” meeting with some Opposition parties but said there was nothing unusual about the encounter.
The prime minister said they met him to express their support for him but declined to say who was in the delegation and what was specifically discussed.
Instead, Dr Mahathir played off the meeting as an ordinary encounter by saying he tries to meet with “everyone” who goes to see him.