MALAYSIA’S political turmoil enters its sixth day on Feb 28. The decision of the Conference of Rulers, said to be convened before Friday prayers today, is expected to dominate headlines. 

Yesterday, after announcing the economic stimulus package, interim prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Dewan Rakyat will convene a special sitting on March 2 to determine who will be the next prime minister and form the government. 

This was the conclusion of his meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Istana Negara yesterday (Feb 27), Mahathir said. 

“After meeting with Members of Parliament for two days, there was no prime minister candidate with a distinct majority. So the King said the right forum to decide will be Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Mahathir also confirmed that he had decided to become Bersatu chairman again.

Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) trio of component parties – PKR, DAP and Amanah – however, accused Mahathir of preempting the Agong after he revealed that the King had yet to decide on who commands the majority to form the next government.

“The announcement by the interim prime minister that a parliamentary session will be called to elect a new prime minister amounts to challenging the rights and powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” the coalition’s presidential council said yesterday after an emergency meeting.

(To catch up, here are the previous live updates for Feb 27, Feb 26, Feb 25 and Feb 24.)

As Malaysia still waits for clarity, FocusM brings you live updates on the unfolding situation on Day 6.

Latest:

7.11pm: PKR’s nominated assemblyman Jaffari Waliam announces quitting the party, saying that he has lost faith in PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

“The president only prioritises certain groups while sidelining others, especially the original fighters who had sacrificed (for the party) for the past 20 years,” he says.

Jaffari adds that their decision to quit the party was also made after taking into consideration the central committee’s move to sack Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin. He also says that he will be supporting Mahathir as prime minister, as well as the leadership of Warisan president Shafie Apdal as the Sabah chief minister.

7.03pm: GPS will make an announcement regarding their stand on Muhyiddin on March 1, according to Sarawak deputy chief minister and Parti Rakyat Sarawak president Tan Sri James Masing.

6.36pm: In a media statement, BN secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor says MCA and MIC are endorsing Muhyiddin as well, pushing his numbers to 96 MPs.

6.17pm: A joint statement issued by Umno and PAS as Muafakat Nasional has the two parties officially supporting Muhyiddin as the 8th prime minister. Umno with its 39 MPs along with PAS and its 18 MPs, now join Bersatu’s 26 MPs, Azmin’s 10 (Ranau MP is out), in supporting Muhyiddin, for a total of 93 MPs. If GPS (18) and Warisan (9) support Muhyiddin, the tally will reach 120. MCA (2) and MIC (1) positions are not clear.

5.56pm: Umno and PAS will be throwing their support behind Muhyiddin, according to FocusM sources as well as reports from Berita Harian and Sin Chew Daily. If that is the case, Muhyiddin may well have the most support among the MPs. But whether he has the majority or not will depend on the Sabah and Sarawak parties.

5.39pm: The Star and Malay Mail have reported that Azmin’s bloc has officially joined Bersatu, though the stance of Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin remains in the air.

5.17pm: PH’s presidential council believes that Anwar holds the highest support among the MPs following the interviews held by the King at Istana Negara. As such, they are calling for Anwar to be given a chance to seek an audience with the King to prove he has the majority support of the MPs. This comes from a statement issued by PH.

4.55pm: Johor sees Umno chief Datuk Hasni Mohammad as new Menteri Besar, according to a report by FMT. This comes after the Sultan gave his consent for a new coalition government comprising Bersatu, Umno and its Barisan Nasional allies, and PAS, to form the state government, following the break-up of the PH coalition.

4.27pm: Bersatu has decided to field Muhyiddin Yassin as their candidate for prime minister for the King’s consideration, choosing him over Mahathir, according to a statement as seen on BFMNews’ Twitter account. The statement was issued after the Mahathir-Bersatu meeting earlier today, which was attended by 36 MPs aligned with Bersatu. This included Azmin Ali’s bloc, except for Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin, who was absent from the meeting.

4.11pm: The King has not yet identified an MP that has majority support to form a new government. The King will also contact the leaders of the political parties that have representatives in the Dewan Rakyat, to give them the chance to nominate an MP as the next prime minister. 

According to a statement from the Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household, Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, the King also agreed with the action taken by the Dewan Rakyat speaker to not call a special session on March 2.

He has pledged to continue his efforts to seek a solution in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and offered his thanks and appreciation to the MPs and the chief secretary, as well as all who were involved in the interview process that have been taking place since Feb 25 at Istana Negara.

3.25pm: Mahathir has left Yayasan Albukhary, following the conclusion of the Bersatu meeting, with word that a media statement will be issued “later tonight” with no indication of a time.

2.54pm: Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin says “the sign is on the wall” for Mahathir to step down, and thanks the interim prime minister for his “services and sacrifices for Malaysia all this while.”

The former Johor Menteri Besar posted this on his Instagram page, alongside an image of the press statement issued by Dewan Rakyat speaker Ariff, announcing there would be no special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat on March 2.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

The sign is on the wall for Tun M, about time to go, thank you for the services and sacrifices for Malaysia all this while

A post shared by Mohamed Khaled Nordin (@khalednordin) on

2.00pm: Parliament Speaker Ariff has been summoned to attend a meeting with the King for the second time today. The Speaker had met with the King earlier in the morning but has been summoned for the second time in the afternoon.

1.15pm: Parliament Speaker Tan Sri Mohd Ariff Md Yusof has decided not to hold a special sitting on March 2 as earlier announced by interim Prime Minister Mahathir. 

Ariff said he has received a notification from Mahathir that the government had agreed to the March 2 sitting. But he found that the letter failed to meet Standing Orders 11(3) which states that the notice and date of a parliamentary meeting should be issued by the Speaker. 

He also said he is of the view that a special sitting should only be called after an official announcement by the Agong on the appointment of a prime minister. 

12.51pm: Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow states that the Penang state assembly will not be dissolved, even if Parliament is, claiming a strong mandate for the Penang Pakatan Harapan state government, according to Malay Mail.

“If Parliament is dissolved, it is up to each state to evaluate their respective situations and make their own decision and in Penang, there is no need for this, we will continue until full term,” he said after attending a groundbreaking ceremony by Smith+Nephew in Batu Kawan.

12.39pm: Bersatu supreme council leader Rais Yatim does not agree with the March 2 parliamentary sitting to determine the support of MPs for the next prime minister. 

“What’s with the fuss that the Dewan Rakyat will supposedly determine who becomes prime minister on March 2?

“The power to appoint the prime minister lies in the hands of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, not the Dewan Rakyat.

“The Agong would have made a decision after interviewing MPs for two days. The attorney-general should give the right advice to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he says in a Twitter post.

12.02pm: The Conference of Rulers is in session. They comprise the heads of state in Perlis, Kedah, Perak, Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu and Kelantan.

The meeting began at 11.30am. 

11.54am: Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa says his party is against the March 2 parliamentary sitting. 

All MPs must say ‘no’ to the March 2 special sitting as announced by the interim prime minister. It is unconstitutional, procedurally improper and disrespects the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” he said in a tweet. 

11.50am: Ex-PKR MPs aligned to Azmin were also seen at Yayasan Albukhary, where Bersatu MPs had a meeting with Mahathir. 

Batu Pahat MP Rashid Hasnon, Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin and Gombak Setia assemblyperson Hilman Idham are among those spotted at Yayasan Albukhary.

11.49am: PAS retracts support for Mahathir. PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang says the decision came after Mahathir lost support from PH and Umno, per Harian Metro.

Hadi went on to suggest that the mandate be given back to the people, hinting at a general election.

11am: Mahathir is currently meeting Bersatu MPs at Yayasan Albukhary, the eponymous charitable foundation of tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary. 

Some of the MPs spotted include Pagoh MP Muhyiddin Yassin, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee, Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah, Titiwangsa MP Rina Harun, Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik and Bersatu secretary-general Marzuki Yahya.

Bandar Tun Razak MP Kamaruddin Jaffar was also seen entering the building.

Kamaruddin was one of the 11 PKR MPs who quit the party along with Azmin Ali.

10.54am: The Federal Constitution does not provide for the Dewan Rakyat to elect among its members a prime minister, said constitutional lawyer Dominic Puthucheary.

“The Dewan Rakyat is only the place to test whether a prime minister appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has majority support,” he told FMT.

He said one had to obtain the support of at least 112 of the 222 MPs to remain in office to administer the nation with the help of his Cabinet. – Feb 28, 2020

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