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After rulers’ statements, Anwar-Zahid-Najib triumvirate in frantic plan for pandemic-era coup

The plan could make way for a new PH government dominated by 'court cluster' Umno leaders.

3 minute read
Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak.
Anwar Ibrahim, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Razak.

Fresh talks have been held in recent days between PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim and a group of Umno MPs led by their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak, with a long delayed agreement to form an alliance set to be inked between the two parties in the coming days, MalaysiaNow has reliably learnt.

A senior aide of a key Umno leader said their plan, which was supposed to have been executed in October last year when both Zahid and Najib wrote to the palace expressing support for Anwar’s bid to become prime minister, had been given a “new lease of life” by the rulers’ statements yesterday.

“The discussions have inched up a couple of notches since last night,” the source told MalaysiaNow on strict condition of anonymity.

“And the fact that the Agong this time did not mention any reminders to politicians against disrupting the government’s stability at this juncture appears to have been taken as a boost.”

When contacted, at least two senior PKR MPs confirmed the plan while another MP said the negotiations had also been about how to “dangle the carrot” to DAP.

“They realise that without DAP’s backing, there is no way any majority can be gathered to counter the Perikatan Nasional government,” the MP said.

When asked if any attempt could be made as Parliament is still suspended, the PKR MP said senior advisers to Anwar believed there were “alternative ways” to topple the government.

“None of us except those in the inner circle of Datuk Seri have access to the purported agreement between Anwar and Zahid,” the MP added.

The Conference of Rulers which met yesterday for a special meeting issued a statement calling for Parliament to reconvene “as soon as possible”, a day after Muhyiddin laid out Putrajaya’s exit plan from the pandemic, eyeing the reopening of Parliament in September or October subject to the public health situation.

DAP’s dilemma

Some DAP leaders have reacted cautiously to calls for the party to work with Umno in order to return to federal power, although the proposal has not been actively promoted for fear of a backlash from its vote bank.

“The 1999 election is still fresh in our minds,” a DAP MP told MalaysiaNow, referring to the general election that year which saw the party losing Chinese support to MCA.

DAP’s political alliance with PAS in 1999 saw several of its key leaders losing their long-held seats. This prompted DAP to go on its own in 2004, where it managed to win back its strongholds even as Barisan Nasional returned to power with a landslide majority.

Many of DAP’s leaders are also seen as facing a moral quandary about being a party to any government that includes the “court cluster”, a reference to some half-a-dozen Umno leaders including Najib who are facing multiple corruption charges.

DAP was at the forefront of attacks against Najib at the height of the 1MDB saga, which became central to Pakatan Harapan’s campaign in the historic 2018 polls which ejected Umno from power.

Failed coup

In October last year, MalaysiaNow released the contents of a letter jointly signed by Zahid and Najib supporting Anwar’s failed bid to topple the government.

MalaysiaNow had also detailed what transpired behind the scenes following Zahid’s letter, including Zahid’s meetings with Muhyiddin in the hope of getting the prime minister’s help to acquit him of his criminal charges.

Zahid and Najib between them have been slapped with about 80 corruption charges involving billions of ringgit linked to scandal-ridden state company 1MDB, a charitable foundation and the government’s pension fund.

Both have been urging Umno to quit Muhyiddin’s administration. They also engineered a motion in the party’s recent general assembly to cut ties with Bersatu and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Zahid was subsequently embroiled in controversy when a recording of a telephone conversation between him and Anwar was leaked, in which he was heard being congratulated by the PKR leader for getting the endorsement of Umno delegates to cut ties with PN.

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