KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — Once again another twist and turn as Pakatan Harapan MPs managed to finagle 114 statutory declaration in support of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, following an hours-long discussion in the heart of downtown KL.
The first to arrive at the Yayasan Al-Bukhary building near the Masjid Negara today was Dr Mahathir himself, accompanied by Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad, around 3.30pm.
Slowly over the next few hours both MPs and media personnel began to crowd the space, with the latter mainly confined to being just outside the building’s security post.
Among those spotted arriving between 5pm to 7pm were Parti Amanah Negara deputy president Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub, Amanah vice-president Datuk Seri Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Seremban DAP chief Anthony Loke, DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo, among others.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail were seen entering the building compound at 8.50pm.
Despite the exhausting week of frenzied running about following last Sunday’s dramatic turn of events, most of the assembled media remained cheerful and could be seen engaging in casual banter with one another, punctured by the occasional rush to catch a comment or two from anyone arriving who indulged them.
Later in the evening, the press was surprised and relieved when building staff approached them with boxes of mineral water and KFC, so as to assuage their thirst and hunger after hours outside.
Not even the dry late afternoon sunshine, or early night drizzle could dissuade the reporters and cameramen from budging. Nor did the undisguised stares of interests from passing-by vehicles and several open-air double-decker tour buses bearing international tourists have much of an effect.
The boisterous conversations became somewhat subdued shortly after 8.30pm, when PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil began broadcasting his live feed, but resumed as normal after it ended.
By 10.30pm, the air was thick with anticipation, as an earlier mentioned press conference at 11pm was seemingly cancelled, then reinstated, and then cancelled again, causing no end of annoyance and frustration to the media personnel at the uncertainty of it all.
The first to leave was Anwar and Dr Wan Azizah, who were all smiles and waves as they left Yayasan Al-Bukhary.
In rapid succession, Parti Warisan Sabah chairman Datuk Liew Vui Keong and DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang left the premise, with the former waving away and the latter pointedly ignoring the flashes and yells.
They were followed by Dr Mahathir and Dr Siti Hasmah’s convoy. Both husband and wife also waved at the press, with Dr Siti Hasmah keeping her mood up despite her evident exhaustion.
Amanah strategic director Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad, Mujahid and Salahuddin also left as soon as possible.
Salahuddin took the time to address the press from his car window, saying that all MPs who made statutory declarations would gather at Yayasan Al-Bukhary tomorrow morning again.
He assured that whatever actions to be taken later on will be done in a peaceful manner, with a desire to avoid any untoward incidents.
Earlier tonight, Fahmi’s live video broadcast gave the public an eye into the happenings inside Yayasan Albukhary.
In the slightly over four-minute broadcast, Fahmi showed former Works Minister Baru Bian, formerly from the rogue faction of PKR led by Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, signing a Statutory Declaration (SD) affirming support for Dr Mahathir as prime minister.
Baru, who is Selangau MP, was later given the number ‘114’ and posed for a photo next to the smiling nonagenarian, indicating him to be the 114th MP voicing support for the Langkawi MP.
Earlier today, the Istana Negara had announced that Muhyidddin will be sworn in as the eighth prime minister tomorrow morning, as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had determined that he was likely to command the confidence of a majority of the Dewan Rakyat.
Muhyiddin will be seen to lead a new coalition dubbed the Perikatan Nasional, which includes PPBM, Umno, PAS, MCA, MIC and PAS.
GPS had only thrown their support behind Perikatan Nasional but insisted that they are merely friendly with the new coalition and does not fall under its umbrella.