Mohamad Sabu skips defence white paper for meeting with Dr M

Mohamad Sabu speaks during the Amanah National Convention in Shah Alam December 8, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Mohamad Sabu speaks during the Amanah National Convention in Shah Alam December 8, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu opted to skip Malaysia’s inaugural defence white paper Perwira Dialogue 2020 at Wisma Perwira ATM here today amid speculation of a backdoor government being formed by ruling and opposition parties.

An aide to the minister told Malay Mail that Mohamad was in a meeting with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the latter’s home.

“He can’t make it. He is still at Tun’s house,” said the aide who requested anonymity.

Mohamad was scheduled to close the half-day event which was opened by his deputy Senator Liew Chin Tong.

The Amanah president was seen entering Dr Mahathir’s residence together with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, her husband PKR President and Port Dickson MP Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as well as Finance Minister and DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng.

It was reported that the group left Dr Mahathir’s home by 12.30 pm.

All across Sunday, the political parties of Bersatu, Umno, PAS, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Parti Warisan Sabah, and the PKR faction aligned with Datuk Seri Azmin Ali gathered for meetings that each tried to play down as “normal” despite their patently atypical nature.

Despite the open speculation that the PH government was about to collapse and be replaced by the new alliance of ruling and Opposition parties, no government leader or representative has come out to deny or confirm this.

Instead, the personalities involved have chosen to play coy about the true reason for their gatherings and attempted to pass off their meeting with fierce opponents as casual encounters.

While Anwar described the betrayal as complete last night, it is still unclear if the parties in the purported plot have the numbers to replace Pakatan Harapan.

The coalition and its partner Warisan squeaked into power in 2018 with 121 seats, but has steadily added to this by recruiting lawmakers from Opposition parties, primarily Umno, to bring its representation in Parliament to 139.

However, most joined Bersatu and the departure of its 26 MPs and and Warisan’s nine is certain to undo the government as this would leave PKR, DAP and Amanah with just 104 seats, short of the 112 needed to continue with a simple majority.

This is also before accounting for PKR MPs from Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s so-called cartel who are expected to join the new coalition.

The allegiances of Warisan and GPS are still undeclared, although leaders of both attended a meeting in the capital here at the same time as a hurriedly convened Umno supreme council meeting.

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