Malaysia’s Anwar to meet King at 10am on Tuesday in hope of forming new govt

Malaysia is abuzz with questions whether Mr Anwar, 73, has the support of enough lawmakers to topple the seven-month-old Perikatan Nasional government.
Malaysia is abuzz with questions whether Mr Anwar, 73, has the support of enough lawmakers to topple the seven-month-old Perikatan Nasional government.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is scheduled to meet the Malaysian King at 10am on Tuesday (Oct 13) to present a list of MPs said to be backing him to take over the government.

The audience with Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin is set to take place at Istana Negara (national palace) in Kuala Lumpur.

The claim by Datuk Seri Anwar on Sept 23 that he has a “formidable” number of federal lawmakers to form a new government has been met with denials by Umno MPs, who are said to be among his key backers.

Several Umno MPs have lodged police reports on the matter, saying they are not supporting him in the takeover plan and rubbishing a viral list of 121 federal lawmakers with their names on it.

Police on Monday (Oct 12) postponed a planned interview with Mr Anwar to investigate the police reports by these lawmakers. Police are obliged under the law to conduct a probe once they receive official complaints over a matter.

Mr Anwar, 73, will need at least 112 MPs in the 222-seat Parliament to claim control of the House, and oust the seven-month government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

At the last count in Parliament, Tan Sri Muhyiddin has the support of 113 MPs, two more than the minimum to pass Bills and survive a confidence vote.

But Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said that he knew of “many” Umno MPs who supported Mr Anwar, and that he cannot stop them from doing so.

Sultan Abdullah, if he is convinced that Mr Anwar has the numbers, could ask Mr Muhyiddin to step down.

Alternatively, the monarch could consult the sitting prime minister whether he would like to call for a fresh general election.

The king could also request the Speaker of Parliament to bring forward the next parliamentary sitting, currently set for Nov 2, to hold a vote of confidence earlier.

Many lawmakers from the ruling and opposition coalitions have called for snap polls to resolve the political uncertainty once and for all, but the public is currently against an election amid a resurgence in Covid-19 infections.

Some of the new infections have been blamed by the two-week campaigning that preceded the Sept 26 Sabah state polls, as politicians mingled freely with voters.

There are worries that a nationwide general election will cause an even bigger upsurge in infections and deaths all over the country.