KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 ― Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is said to have pleaded with his Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies to give him “one more week” to prove he commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat, after failing to challenge Budget 2021 this week.
Sources within the pact told Malay Mail that the PKR president told component party leaders in Parliament after the voting on Thursday that he will prove that he has secured the number, which allegedly included Umno MPs, or that he will step down from leading PH.
“Anwar asks for one more week or else he will step down as Opposition (leader) and PH chief,” said a source privy to the meeting but wished to remain anonymous.
Another source said PKR’s PH allies, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara, have conditionally agreed but also warned Anwar that he has little margin of error over move to take over Putrajaya.
“They are giving Anwar the last chance,” said the source, without elaborating.
On September 23, Anwar had announced his audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and claimed to have a “formidable and convincing” majority as he purportedly gained the support of several Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional MPs.
However, after his audience with the Agong on October 13, the Istana Negara said Anwar had only provided the number of MPs he claimed supporting him to be the next prime minister, but not the list of their names to verify his claim.
Malay Mail also understands that PH MPs have already signed statutory declarations (SDs) to support Anwar as the next prime minister.
However sources close to DAP said that the party will only make the SDs available to Anwar “after” the latter has proven to have the support needed from the other MPs.
This revelation supports DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng’s remark on September 23 that all 42 MPs from the party would support Anwar to form a new federal government, but only provided he has sufficient support.
Malay Mail was also told that all 11 Amanah MPs have already provided their supporting SDs to Anwar.
Another source from Umno who is privy to the negotiations between MPs in the party and Anwar admitted that the talks were ongoing.
“The talk was held with some top leaders in Umno and several individual MPs,” said the source who also declined to confirm whether Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or convicted former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak are part of the deal.
Yesterday, Anwar acknowledged that both DAP and Amanah had wanted to force a division of the House during Thursday’s voting on Budget 2021, and that he had invoked his position as Opposition leader to get them to stand down.
Despite anticipation of heavy resistance to Perikatan Nasional’s maiden Budget 2021, the federal spending plan sailed past the policy stage when just 13 Opposition lawmakers stood to try and force bloc voting.
Prior to the vote, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz announced several concessions to demands from both sides of the divide including extending the loan moratorium for all B40 income earners and small businesses as well as allowing eight million EPF contributors to withdraw up to RM10,000 from their Account 1 instead of RM6,000.
Voting in Budget 2021 had come under extreme scrutiny as there was an expectation that it could be rejected.
By convention, a rejection of the federal Budget is considered a successful vote of no-confidence against the ruling party and should be met by the resignation of the entire Cabinet.
PH parties have since come under heavy criticism from supporters for their apparent failure to try and reject Budget 2021 despite their previously vociferous complaints about it.
* A previous version of this story contained an error which has since been corrected.