Bersatu, PAS reiterate support for Muhyiddin before Anwar meets King

Bersatu says Anwar's numbers claim is 'pure fiction', PAS slams his PM bid as 'desperate'

Even as Bersatu and Parti Islam SeMalaysia reiterated their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin (left), several Umno MPs have lodged police reports denying they support opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (right). PHOTOS: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA • Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) yesterday reiterated their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, ahead of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's meeting with the King tomorrow to discuss forming a new government.

Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin said claims by Datuk Seri Anwar that he commanded support of the majority of Malaysia's 222 Members of Parliament were baseless.

"Anwar's allegation is pure fiction," said Datuk Seri Hamzah in a statement yesterday. He said all Bersatu lawmakers, which total 31, fully support their party president Muhyiddin.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin's seven-month-old Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition - which mainly comprises Bersatu, PAS, Umno and Gabungan Parti Sarawak - commands a razor-thin majority of 113 MPs in the Lower House.

"Bersatu calls upon all Malaysians to ignore Anwar and give their support to the Perikatan Nasional government to stop the transmission of Covid-19 and to repair the economy," said Mr Hamzah, who is also Home Minister.

Last Thursday Mr Anwar, who is president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), said he had been granted an audience with the King, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, at which he will present statutory declarations from MPs in support of his bid to take over as prime minister.

Mr Anwar helms the Pakatan Harapan pact, which has a total of 91 lawmakers in Parliament. He will need the backing of at least 112 MPs to establish a majority, prompting speculation that there may be defections from the ruling coalition.

PAS however also issued a statement yesterday saying all 18 of its MPs fully support Mr Muhyiddin as prime minister to lead the PN government.

Describing Mr Anwar's bid for the top job as "desperate", the party's secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said PAS was confident the King would handle Mr Anwar's claim according to the law and federal Constitution.

"PAS sees the issue raised by Anwar as a desperate move driven by personal interest and ambitions while the Perikatan government is managing the Covid-19 pandemic and taking steps to revive the national economy," Datuk Takiyuddin said.

Meanwhile several Umno MPs have resorted to lodging police reports denying that they support Mr Anwar, after a list of 121 lawmakers who allegedly back the PKR president surfaced on social media, of which 22 were from Umno.

One of them, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim, said it was irresponsible of Mr Anwar to use the media to stake his claim that he had the majority to form a new government.

"If he has the numbers, he should prove it in Parliament or present it before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," he said, referring to the King.

Mr Anwar has said he has a "convincing" majority but would reveal who his supporters were only after he had met the King.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2020, with the headline Bersatu, PAS reiterate support for Muhyiddin before Anwar meets King. Subscribe