Umno, PAS, Bersatu agree on Umno assemblyman for Perak Menteri Besar

The swearing-in ceremony for Mr Saarani will be held on Dec 10, 2020. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Member parties of Malaysia's Perikatan Nasional pact have agreed to nominate an Umno lawmaker as the next Menteri Besar of Perak, resolving the ongoing leadership crisis in the state government that was triggered by rivalries within the pact.

The Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) have agreed on Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad as their pick following a meeting on Wednesday (Dec 9), said a joint statement issued by BN secretary-general Annuar Musa, Bersatu secretary-general Hamzah Zainuddin and PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan.

The former chief minister Ahmad Faizal Azumu, Bersatu's deputy president, was ousted last Friday after he lost a motion of confidence filed by Umno. His removal exposed a rift between Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's Bersatu and Umno, its ally in the state and federal government.

"In this meeting, the Barisan chairman (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) has conveyed an apology on behalf of the Perak BN assemblymen over the mistake that took place," said the statement, without elaborating further.

"Based on the consensus spirit of Perikatan Nasional, the three parties agree to propose Datuk Saarani Mohamad as the new Perak Menteri Besar to be consented to by the Sultan of Perak."

The palace announced that the swearing-in ceremony for Mr Saarani will be held at 11am on Thursday. The joint statement also said the meeting had reached a consensus over other appointments in the state government.

"The three parties agree to strengthen cooperation between parties in the PN government in Perak and also at the federal level for political stability and harmony."

In the 59-seat state assembly, Umno has 25 seats, Bersatu five, PAS three, and Gerakan one. There is one independent.

Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) has 24 seats - Democratic Action Party with 16, Parti Keadilan Rakyat three, and Parti Amanah Negara five.

Meanwhile, the Perak state assembly has been postponed to next Wednesday.

"Given the current situation and under the State Constitution, the sitting will be postponed," said state Speaker Mohamad Zahir Abdul Khalid, adding that the state Budget for 2021 will be moved to another date.

Last weekend, Zahid, who is also Umno president, had said his party was open to working with all parties, including Malaysia's opposition, to form the government in Perak state. With the PN pact remaining intact however, Umno's Saarani is now backed by a sufficient majority to govern.

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