Monday, September 20, 2021

PH gets support of Umno ‘klepto’ group to push Anwar as PM

Anwar's supporters in PKR say there is nothing illegal in 'kleptocrats' backing a Pakatan Harapan government.

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Some 15 MPs aligned with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, including those facing multiple corruption charges, will be backing PKR’s Anwar Ibrahim to be appointed as prime minister in the event of a government collapse, MalaysiaNow can confirm.

The latest move appears in keeping with former leader Najib Razak’s indication that there would be a major development at Istana Negara within the next “24 to 48 hours”.

“Whatever decision made, including by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, will determine the future of the country,” Najib had said in a speech yesterday.

This comes after negotiations by PH with other opposition blocs and individual parties failed to gain their support for Anwar.

“It was then decided that PH can only be a government with the support of Zahid and his men,” a senior PKR office bearer familiar with the negotiations late last night told MalaysiaNow.

Yesterday, opposition parties rejected a cross-party consensus offered by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin ahead of a planned confidence vote to determine his support among MPs.

Despite strong reservations from some DAP MPs, including many who had privately protested any move to combine forces with “a group of kleptocrats that we have fought so hard to evict from Putrajaya”, the source said PH leaders believed such an opportunity would never come again.

“Anwar’s men in PKR are adamant that there is nothing illegal in kleptocrats backing a PH government.

“In the end, they agreed that time is running out,” the PKR veteran said.

Yesterday, Muhyiddin listed seven items in his proposal for a cross-party consensus to avoid a collapse of the government which he said risked a power vacuum that could be filled by “kleptocrats” while disrupting efforts to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

The term “kleptocrats” refers to a group of Umno leaders who are facing multiple corruption charges, led by Najib, who alongside Zahid and Anwar are leading the current efforts to oust Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin among others pledged to channel equal allocations of funds to all MPs across the political divide, enact an anti-hopping law, limit the prime minister’s tenure in office, and ensure a balanced representation of MPs from the government and opposition in the Special Parliamentary Select Committee.

He also promised to implement Undi18 to allow those who reach 18 years of age to vote at the next general election, which he pledged to call by the end of July next year subject to the Covid-19 situation.

Several DAP MPs contacted by MalaysiaNow have warmed up to the proposal, mainly driven by the fear of working with scandal-tainted politicians such as Najib and Zahid.

At least two DAP MPs – Tony Pua and Ong Kian Ming – have publicly urged their party to consider the offer, emphasising the importance of blocking the return of kleptocrats as well as the need to focus efforts on battling the Covid-19 pandemic.

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