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Amanah leader defends Anwar after failure to form govt

Muhammad Taqiuddin Cheman says the PH chairman should not be blamed for failing to obtain the majority support of MPs in order to topple the Perikatan Nasional government.

Aliff Fikri
3 minute read
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in the Dewan Rakyat on July 29. Photo: Bernama
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim in the Dewan Rakyat on July 29. Photo: Bernama

Acting Amanah Youth chief Muhammad Taqiuddin Cheman has defended Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim following his failure to obtain the numbers needed to form the government, as open conflict over the matter between his party and PKR continues.

Taqiuddin, who is Pulai Sebatang assemblyman, said the PKR president should not be blamed for failing to obtain the support of the majority in Parliament to return PH to federal power.

“The statements by Amanah leaders who suggested that Anwar be replaced as PH chairman and his position as opposition chief be given to someone else may have been made in a personal capacity,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“But such statements are highly irresponsible,” he said, adding that they had used their party positions to attack Anwar for failing to acquire the needed majority.

Debate over Anwar’s leadership as PH chairman surfaced after Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob was found to possess the support of 114 out of 220 MPs despite the PKR chief’s earlier claim of having “strong and formidable” numbers, enough to topple the Perikatan Nasional government.

Last week, a war of words erupted between Bukit Bintang Amanah chief Ahmad Asri Talib and Sarawak PKR activist Iswardy Morni over the matter.

Asri had suggested that a PH Plus coalition be formed with other opposition parties while calling on Anwar to be removed as chairman.

He said there were many other candidates who could be put forth as Anwar’s replacement, naming Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Shafie Apdal, or those agreed to by PH Plus.

Iswardy however said Amanah was unaware of its own position, adding that the PAS splinter party was nearly immobile in Sarawak.

He also said that seat negotiations for Amanah in the state assembly for the Sarawak election to come could be pared down from more than 10 to just two.

The spat between the two PH components also spread to Penang, where Tanjong Amanah leader Faruk Abdul Rahman voiced support for Asri, angering several PKR Youth chiefs in the state.

Offers by Muhyiddin and Ismail

Taqiuddin meanwhile hailed the cooperation between the government and PH announced in a recent joint statement by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Anwar and the two other top PH leaders, Lim Guan Eng and Mohamad Sabu.

“This is especially in efforts to break the chain of Covid-19 infections, achieve herd immunity and restore the economy,” he said.

“For now, the most important thing is to put aside political differences and focus on joining hands to resolve the pandemic crisis which has caused the people many difficulties.”

He said Muhyiddin Yassin’s offer of a cross-party consensus in exchange for support from the opposition shortly before he announced his resignation had been made when his government was on the brink of collapse.

“Ismail made his offer right after being appointed as prime minister,” he said, declining to go into further detail.

In their joint statement, Ismail and the PH leaders had agreed to find common ground to “lower the political temperature” as advised by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

They said they had reached a mutual agreement on strengthening the function of Parliament and making it more transparent.

“We also agree and understand the importance of the independence of the judiciary, institutional reform and good governance to ensure a more conducive environment for the people and the country in the framework of the Malaysian Family,” they said, in reference to a phrase Ismail had used in his inaugural speech as prime minister on Sunday.