Anwar, Lim Guan Eng looking to confront PM Mahathir amid reported realignment in Malaysia's political landscape

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng. PHOTOS: EPA-EFE, REUTERS
The Putra Perdana building, which houses the Prime Minister's Office in Putrajaya, Malaysia, on April 9, 2019. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - An attempt by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng to confront Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in his office amid a possible realignment in Malaysia's political landscape did not clear the air as planned on Monday morning (Feb 24) after the Prime Minister did not show up.

The trio left Putra Perdana after learning that Dr Mahathir was not at the office and it is believed that they were headed to the Prime Minister's house at the Mines, Kuala Lumpur.

It is understood that Defence Minister and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu was also making his way to see Dr Mahathir.

Dr Wan Azizah and Datuk Seri Anwar were scheduled to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at 2pm.

Prior to that, however, they were set to join several PKR leaders and lawmakers at the party's headquarters for a special meeting, expected to begin at noon.

Top DAP leaders, including Mr Lim Kit Siang, had similarly gathered at DAP headquarters for an emergency meeting.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad joked at a function that this may be his last event as a minister.

On Sunday night, Mr Anwar issued a statement that he has been betrayed by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and a faction within his own party. It was reported that Dr Mahathir was executing a plan to form a new government with PKR deputy president Azmin Ali's faction, Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

Dr Mahathir has repeatedly affirmed in the past 18 months that he would hand power to Mr Anwar under an agreement between the parties that make up the Pakatan Harapan coalition after winning an unprecedented general election. However, it appears that a flurry of top-level meetings on Sunday was to ensure that Mr Anwar does not become the prime minister.

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Meanwhile, Negri Sembilan Menteri Besar Aminuddin Harun had a 30-minute audience with state ruler Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir at Istana Hinggap. Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari summoned all PKR state assemblymen to congregate at his official residence and was expected to brief the Selangor Sultan after the meeting was over.

The PKR's Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was absent from an event he was supposed to attend. He was instead represented by newly appointed secretary-general, Datuk Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad.

On Sunday, several key leaders from ruling government parties and also from the opposition attended a special meeting at a hotel in Petaling Jaya. It was a closed-door meeting, sparking off speculation over the purpose of the meeting.

Before that, there had been separate meetings involving several political parties amid talk of a possible change in the composition of the ruling coalition at the helm of the country.

Party leaders were tight-lipped as to what was discussed at the closed-door meetings in the federal capital and Petaling Jaya, which drew intense media attention.

Earlier on Sunday, Umno held a special supreme council meeting for about two hours that kicked off at 4pm at the Putra World Trade Centre.

Bersatu also held a special meeting at party headquarters at Menara Yayasan Selangor in Petaling Jaya, chaired by party chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who declined to comment when reporters swarmed around him as he left the premises.

Several MPs from political parties in Sabah and Sarawak also held meetings in the federal capital.

Istana Negara was also a hive of activity as many vehicles were seen entering the palace grounds from about 5.30pm on Sunday, some with police escort. These vehicles were seen leaving about two hours later.

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