Thursday, February 18, 2021

BN MPs shoot down Najib’s proposal to work with Anwar, DAP

The former prime minister's proposal triggered strong protest from MPs who questioned his U-turn on Umno's 'no DAP' principle.

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A meeting of MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN) today saw a heated debate over a proposal by its adviser Najib Razak that the coalition work with PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim and DAP.

MalaysiaNow can confirm, based on information from a high-level source in Umno, that the former prime minister’s proposal triggered a round of criticism from MPs.

“There was however at least one Umno MP who stood by Najib despite the protests from those present,” the source said.

The meeting was held at the Umno headquarters in Kuala Lumpur ahead of a follow-up meeting to be convened by the Umno Supreme Council tonight, where the party is expected to state its stand on whether to remain in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

The discussion by BN MPs today centred around their support for the PN government headed by Muhyiddin Yassin, a day after the Agong decided there was no need for a state of emergency as proposed by the prime minister.

Muhyiddin had made the proposal in the hope of preventing snap polls during the Covid-19 pandemic, following appeals from senior health officials to prevent a general election infection cluster.

Even stronger protests were raised after Najib called for Muhyiddin to vacate the top seat based on “moral and legal” grounds.

There have been fears that any move by a group of MPs to reject the budget bill next month could see the collapse of Muhyiddin’s government and trigger an election.

The Agong’s decision yesterday is seen by Muhyiddin’s detractors as a setback, with calls from the opposition Pakatan Harapan as well as a small faction within Umno for him to step down.

Among those in the anti-Muhyiddin faction in Umno is Najib, who together with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had expressed support for Anwar to become the prime minister.

On Oct 16, MalaysiaNow revealed that the duo had written a letter to the Agong, just before the PKR leader’s royal audience on Oct 13.

Najib’s moral argument

But Najib’s proposal at the BN meeting today that the bloc work together with Anwar to replace Muhyiddin drew strong protests.

“Among those vocal in protesting Najib’s proposal was Noh Omar,” the same source told MalaysiaNow, referring to the Tanjong Karang MP.

“He also questioned Najib for turning back on Umno’s principle of not working with DAP,” it added.

Even stronger protests were raised after Najib called for Muhyiddin to vacate the top seat based on “moral and legal” grounds.

Najib had cited, among others, his failure to gain the rulers’ consent to declare a state of emergency.

“A senior minister then threw back the moral argument, saying Anwar too has issues following his failure to show proof of his claim to having majority support.”

Following the BN meeting today, Najib told reporters that any decision by Umno tonight would only be made en bloc.

Editor’s note: In an earlier version of our report, our source mistakenly stated that Padang Rengas MP Nazri Aziz was present at the BN meeting. We have since verified that he was not. The mistake is regretted, and we apologise. However, we stand by the rest of our report.

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