PKR may be heading for a second wave of resignations from among its MPs following what an analyst describes as a damning statement from Istana Negara rejecting a claim by Anwar Ibrahim following his royal audience with the Agong yesterday, MalaysiaNow has learnt.
At least four MPs may quit the party, with two of them indicating to MalaysiaNow that they were embarrassed by the “stunt” outside the palace which became the focus of the media in anticipation of Anwar’s highly publicised meeting with Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
“Some of us have come under heavy pressure to quit the party, and the statement by the palace just minutes after Anwar’s press conference yesterday appeared to be the last straw,” said a federal elected representative from PKR.
Yesterday, the palace issued a statement which appeared to contradict Anwar’s claim that he had submitted “authentic documents” to the Agong to show he had secured support from the majority of MPs to topple the Muhyiddin Yassin government.
Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household, said Anwar had only stated the total number of MPs he claimed were backing him to take over Putrajaya.
“However, he did not present the list of the MPs to strengthen the claim,” he said.
MalaysiaNow has learnt that there could be a “second smaller wave” of MPs leaving PKR this time, after about a dozen of them quit the party during the February political crisis.
At that time, then-PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali led a group of MPs to declare themselves as independent, with most eventually joining Bersatu to boost Muhyiddin’s parliamentary numbers.
“This time, it could be a quartet, with two of them unable to take the heat after this afternoon’s debacle,” a close aide to a senior PKR leader told MalaysiaNow last night.
The MP, representing a key constituency in the Klang Valley, said Anwar had given colleagues a “super confident” picture of his plan last Friday during a series of meetings with PKR elected representatives.
Pressure has been building in the shape of wide discontent among grassroots.
“We were even told to dress our best when the plan went into motion,” the MP said.
While MalaysiaNow has been unable to independently verify the number of MPs who will quit the party, any possibility of this could further reduce PKR’s already thinned share of seats in the Parliament.
The party currently has 38 MPs, but MalaysiaNow has learnt that a group of them had stayed put at the last minute despite indicating to Azmin in February that they would follow his exit.
This time, pressure has been building in the shape of wide discontent among grassroots, after what is being seen as Anwar’s failure to provide proof of his claim that he has a “formidable” majority to bring down the government.
“It is already an episode more embarrassing than the Sep 16 stunt 12 years ago,” a PKR division chairman in northern Perak told MalaysiaNow, referring to Anwar’s failed attempt to dislodge the Abdullah Badawi government through defections in the Dewan Rakyat in 2008.
At the heart of the discontent is the perception that the party’s image has been battered by the statement from Istana Negara.
One political observer said the statement could be interpreted as the palace’s “clear indictment” of the PKR leader.
Shamsul Amri Baharuddin of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s Institute of Ethnic Studies said Anwar had been “schooled” by the palace, and spoke of a perception that he had no regard for legal process.
“So the palace schooled Anwar, telling him to follow and respect the legal process as provided by the Federal Constitution,” he added.
Anwar on Sept 23 claimed he had the numbers – a “strong and formidable majority” – to form the federal government, thus fulfilling his decades-old quest for the seat of prime minister.
He claimed he had secured the support of enough MPs to jump to his side while assuring that his future administration would be predominantly Malay.
Fazreen Kamal contributed to this report.