MALAYSIA’S political turbulence enters its fourth day on Feb 26 with Pakatan Harapan (PH) Members of Parliament (MPs) being summoned to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Each MP is given some three minutes for the interview with His Majesty, which is witnessed by Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali.

Last night, Umno and PAS said they will not support Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in a unity government as DAP will be in it. 

Meanwhile, PH said they had reached a consensus decision at the presidential council meeting which was attended by key leaders from PKR, DAP and Amanah. They said the consensus decision will be announced today.

After the meeting, when met with reporters, Amanah communications director Khalid Samad said he was confident PH had “sufficient” numbers to form a simple majority. 

(To catch up, here are the previous live updates for Feb 25 and Feb 24.)

As Malaysia still waits for clarity, FocusM brings you live updates on the unfolding situation on Day 4:

10.52pm: Pakatan Harapan rejected the “non-partisan government” proposal as such an arrangement would have given Dr Mahathir the power to decide by himself the composition of the Cabinet, says Bakri MP and ex-cabinet minister Yeo Bee Yin.

“Effectively, it (will be) a Tun government and not a Pakatan government. The promises of the Pakatan manifesto would not be fulfilled, ” she said in a Facebook post.

While she expressed gratitude to Dr Mahathir for refusing to work with corrupt politicians from Umno, Yeo said the unity government proposal could not be accepted. The proposed Cabinet, she added, would also likely include politicians who “triggered the current crisis,” as well as lawmakers from Umno and PAS.

9.39pm: Johor state legislative assemblymen were summoned for an audience with the Sultan of Johor here to state their support for Pakatan Harapan or a coalition government. Each of them had a five-minute audience.

The state assembly has 56 members – Umno and DAP 14 each, PPBM 11, Amanah nine, PKR five, MIC two and PAS one – and it is not known how many were able to be present as some are in Kuala Lumpur.

9.35pm: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg says his party will abide by any decision taken by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in line with Articles 40(2)(a) and (b), Article 43(2)(a), and Article 55(2) of the Federal Constitution.

These provisions pertain to the King’s power to appoint a prime minister in his own judgement on who is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat, to dissolve the Parliament, and to withhold consent on a request to dissolve Parliament.

He adds in a statement that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS)-led state government will act in the interest of the nation but without sacrificing the rights and interests of Sarawakians.

“The most important concern is that Malaysia must have political stability in order for the nation to move forward. The country is faced with mounting economic problems arising from uncertainties including the Covid-19 outbreak that must be address in earnest and expeditiously,” he added.

9.31pm: Malaysiakini reports that controversial lawyer Mohd Khairul Azam Abdul Aziz has filed a suit to quash a royal pardon given to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim in relation to his sodomy conviction and jail sentence.

In a media statement, Khairul said he had instructed law firm Raja Riza & Associates to file a writ of summons naming the Pardons Board and Port Dickson MP Anwar as defendants.

6pm: In another anti-climatic statement read out at a press conference, Anwar says all PKR, DAP and Amanah MPs (total of 92) have nominated him as PM. The PH presidential council in unison has agreed to have Anwar as PM. He adds that PH awaits the Agong’s decision on the matter which should be followed by all.

4.45pm: In what is an anti-climatic announcement via a live broadcast to Malaysians over public media, Mahathir sheds no new light on what is happening. Mahathir apologises to Malaysians if he has made any mistakes by resigning as prime minister and says he is for whoever obtains support. “Let the Dewan Rakyat decide who will be picked,” he says.

4.28pm: Mahathir is scheduled to make a live announcement on RTM at 4.45pm, while PH will hold a press conference at the PKR headquarters at 4.30pm.

Khalid Samad is seen arriving at the HQ.

3.45pm: Malaysia is poised to have its first minority government as PH has opted to back PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as the eighth prime minister, news portal The Malaysian Insight reports. This could happen based on the breakdown of possible supports (see table).

With 39 PKR MPs, 42 DAP MPs and 11 Amanah MPs, PH will have at least 92 MPs. However, Amanah’s Khalid has indicated support for PH at 102 MPs, which presumably includes Warisan (9) and an independent who supports Warisan.

The support for Mahathir is likely to come from Bersatu (26), GPS (18), and the Azmin faction (11), making in all 55. Thus, with Umno and PAS having withdrawn their support, it is unlikely that Mahathir will reach anywhere close to the numbers Anwar already seems to command.

Wikipedia defines a minority government thus: A minority government, minority cabinet or minority parliament is a cabinet formed in a parliamentary system when a political party or coalition of parties does not have a majority of overall seats in the parliament.  It is sworn into office, with or without the formal support of other parties, to enable a government to be formed. Under such a government, legislation can only be passed with the support of enough other members of the legislature to provide a majority, encouraging multi-partisanship.

3.03pm: DAP MPs are expected to propose PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as the 8th prime minister, according to FMT, which cited Sin Chew Daily as quoting a party member saying that all their MPs were summoned earlier for a briefing on the matter.

2.20pm: PH has decided to push for Anwar as PM8, sources tell FocusMThey say last night’s deliberations at the presidential council concluded: It’s Anwar, if he could command a simple majority of 112 MPs or Mahathir, if the numbers fall short. 

“It looks like the PH MPs have decided to nominate Anwar,” one of the sources says.

2.12pm: PKR MPs have left Istana Negara. Many say it’s “good news”. 

Wangsa Maju MP Datin Paduka Dr Tan Yee Kew says PKR has given its full support to Anwar to become PM8.

Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told the media that PKR has voted for someone from the party to be PM, but declined to say who the person was.

2.09pm: DAP MPs, including Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang, Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh, and Seremban MP Anthony Loke seen entering Istana Negara.

1.17pm: The 11 MPs, headed by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin, who left PKR are believed to be joining Bersatu. The group, which had voiced its support for Mahathir as PM, was behind the infamous “Sheraton Hotel meeting” which purportedly wanted to form a coalition government with Umno and PAS.

The 11 formed an independent bloc after leaving PKR. Apart from Azmin and Zuraida, the others are Saifuddin Abdullah, Baru Bian, Kamarudin Jaffar, Mansor Othman, Rashid Hasnon, Ali Biju, Willie Mongin, Jonathan Yasin and Datuk Seri Santhara Kumar.

As Bersatu’s membership is only open to Bumiputeras, Santhara will join as an associate.

12.36pm: Iskandar Puteri MP and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang believes PH’s agenda is the only way Malaysians can realise its potential, no matter how difficult the journey may be. 

“Harapan is determined to reclaim the pride of all Malaysians that has been sold and bartered away by Umno and BN.

“We must remain true to this pledge to fulfil the Harapan agenda to reset nation-building policies for Malaysia to return to the founding principles of the Malaysian constitution to ensure unity, justice, freedom, excellence and integrity in Malaysia where there is the separation of powers, the rule of law, public integrity and respect for human rights, a Malaysia that is inclusive, moderate and respected globally,” Lim says in a statement.

12.34pm: Amanah MPs arrive at Istana Negara. Among them are Shah Alam MP Khalid, Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin and Parit Buntar MP Mujahid Yusof Rawa.

“We are putting a lot of hopes today, there is hope, the sun will shine again,” Mujahid says.

12.29pm: Amanah’s Khalid says the reason Mahathir has to make way for Anwar is based on the agreed succession plan between both men. Khalid is calling for the transition to happen “smoothly” and “peacefully.” “Strengthen PH,” he says.

12.10pm: Senior lawyer Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram says that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can only dissolve Parliament on the advice of the prime minister. He added that anyone else advising the King to do otherwise would be going against the Federal Constitution, as per The Star

12.09pm: Some key Bersatu leaders have left the Palace. They include Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir. 

12.06pm: Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa in a tweet yesterday claimed that there were attempts to break up Umno. He said certain parties had been casting aspersions towards leaders such as Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Datuk Seri Najib Razak. 

11.57am: Armed forces and police veterans group National Patriots Association wants PH to form the new government. 

“It appears that Harapan, now comprising PKR, DAP and Amanah, is the current most united group and having the most number of MPs compared to other groups.

“Patriot implores MPs from Bersatu, Warisan and Gabungan Parti Sarawak, those with principles, (to) join Harapan and help form the government,” its president Mohamed Arshad Raji says in a statement.

But the group adds that calling for fresh polls should be avoided at “all costs” and that Umno and PAS were “selfish” in making that demand. 

“A general election at this time will send our economy to a tailspin and hasten an economic recession.

“Umno that had sabotaged our economy and nearly brought our nation to ruins must not be allowed to rule again,” Mohamed Arshad says.

11.42am: Shah Alam MP Khalid Samad of Amanah calls for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to step down and make way for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the eighth prime minister. He said he hoped that Bersatu will keep to its promise – Dr Mahathir as the seventh prime minister and Anwar as the eighth.

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