Despite PKR defections, Anwar insists he still has ‘adequate numbers’

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaking during a press conference at Eastin Hotel in Petaling Jaya, March 16, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaking during a press conference at Eastin Hotel in Petaling Jaya, March 16, 2021. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim maintained today that he continued to have the needed support to take over the government notwithstanding the defection of three PKR federal lawmakers to the ruling Perikatan Nasional.

Anwar’s PKR has lost Julau MP Larry Sng, Tebrau MP Steven Choong, and Kuala Langat MP Dr Xavier Jeyakumar in recent weeks, with all three turning independent and pledging support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s coalition.

“I have adequate numbers,” Anwar said before breaking out in a smirk.

However, his mood changed when pressed to elaborate on his reply.

Appearing upset, Anwar retorted that it was Muhyiddin’s coalition that must prove it still commanded the majority support needed to remain the government of the day.

“Why not ask PN how many (MPs) it has? Why is that not important? Why are they still governing when they do not dare convene Parliament?

“Why have they never responded to the 115 members of parliament who wrote to the Agong to oppose the decision to suspend Parliament? To me, this is very much more important” he said.

A minimum of 112 federal lawmakers is needed to secure a simple majority in Parliament.

Anwar insisted the PN government has lost its legitimacy to rule and accused it of hiding behind law enforcement agencies, which he claimed were being used to menace rival political leaders.

In September, Anwar sought a royal audience with the Yang diPertuan Agong to ostensibly demonstrate to the monarch that he had the needed support to take over the government.

At the time, he claimed to possess a “formidable majority” in Parliament.

Earlier in the press conference, the federal Opposition leader also insisted that the three defections were of no significance to the PN coalition’s standing in Parliament.

“It’s simple mathematics. PN claims they have 111 or 112 (MPs), alright? If we take a portion of those who have declared support for me, they are left with — technically — 100, say.

“But this does not take into account the other 13 (from) Warisan, Pejuang, Muda. So, it’s still minus 13 so they have less than 90 (seats), easily,” he said.

Anwar insisted that PN already lost such an extent of its core support that three defecting MPs would not alter the balance in any way.

Editor's note: This article has been amended to correct the parliamentary constituency where Dr Xavier Jeyakumar is MP.

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