PKR sec-gen: Zahid’s statement admitting Umno MPs’ support for Anwar ‘confirms’ Perikatan’s fall

PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks to reporters during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya February 24, 2020. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail speaks to reporters during a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya February 24, 2020. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement that several lawmakers from his party will back Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to form a new government “confirms” that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin no longer commands majority support in Parliament, PKR secretary-general Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution said today.

The statement purportedly issued by Zahid earlier this evening stated that he could not prevent Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno Members of Parliament from supporting Anwar.

“From that statement alone, we can fairly conclude that Zahid has admitted to having many of his party lawmakers supporting Anwar,” Saifuddin, who is also Pakatan Harapan chief secretary, told Malay Mail.

“Bear in mind that he (Zahid) said ‘many’. When you mention many (defections) in the context of Muhyiddin leading a government with a razor-thin margin, we can conclude that he (Muhyiddin) has lost majority of the support,” the PKR leader added.

In a statement circulating on the internet, Zahid, who is also the BN chairman, said he was told many MPs have stated their support for Anwar to form a new government.

He then said he would respect their stand.

Anwar announced in a much anticipated press conference at noon today that he has secured a “formidable majority” within Parliament to replace Muhyiddin’s government.

Still, the Port Dickson MP stopped short of stating the exact numbers and naming the MPs, but said they were mostly Malay-Muslim and that their support was conditional on him securing an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong first.

Saifuddin told Malay Mail that PKR would wait until the royal audience has been granted before revealing details.

“Muhyiddin stated that Anwar must prove he has the numbers. There are only two ways to do that: first is through Parliament via a vote of confidence or a vote of no confidence, which Muhyiddin has been reluctant to allow,” the PKR leader said.

“The other way is by presenting the numbers to the Agong. That’s it. That’s all there is to it,” he added.

Political rivals have continued to question the legitimacy of Muhyiddin’s leadership over his reluctance to allow a test of his majority support in Parliament.

Muhyiddin ascended to power amid political chaos that stemmed from his party’s decision to desert the Pakatan Harapan government.

While the Agong appointed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president as the prime minister, his coalition’s true level of support among federal lawmakers has never been formally established in Parliament.

There are 222 seats in Parliament’s Lower House. Anwar previously claimed to have the backing of at least 107 MPs, just five short of forming a simple majority.

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