Umno agrees to unity government not led by Muhyiddin as rulers meet
KUALA LUMPUR Umnos top leadership agreed on Thursday to the proposal by Malaysias King to form a unity government, bringing Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief Anwar Ibrahim one step closer to the premiership that he has waited for nearly 25 years.
This comes ahead of a special meeting of the Malay rulers where Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah will confer with the nations nine state monarchs with regards to the political imbroglio. Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar of Johor was the first to arrive at 9.40am Friday, with others in attendance by 11am.
However, the decision after a four-hour meeting of the Umno supreme council has yet to be endorsed by the wider Barisan Nasional (BN) that the party leads, as well as the coalitions 30 MPs.
The supreme council unanimously decided to uphold the Kings decree for BN to support and participate in a unity government not led by Perikatan Nasional (PN) to ensure a stable and prosperous administration can be formed, Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan said in a statement.
PN chief Muhyiddin Yassin, along with his PH counterpart, Datuk Seri Anwar, had audiences Tuesday where the King surfaced the possibility of a unity government.
Although it was well received by Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar, Tan Sri Muhyiddin refused to participate in a joint administration with his fierce rivals in PH, claiming that he had the backing of 115 out of Parliaments 222 members.
Umno supreme council member Puad Zarkashi explained that many reporters asked PH or PN. The answer is simple. PN rejected the unity government.
The council also further gave its full backing for president Zahid Hamidi to continue leading BN, after he had come under fire from allies for pledging BNs 30 MPs to Mr Anwar on Tuesday despite the coalition deciding to remain neutral.
The Straits Times has seen a letter signed off by leaders of all three BN allies calling on Zahid to relinquish the chairmanship, and for disciplinary action to be taken if the former deputy premier refuses.
Malaysia has yet to form a new government five days after a general election threw up its first-ever hung Parliament.
A crushing defeat for the once-dominant BN left both Mr Anwar and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin as the front runners to become prime minister, with their parties leading blocs of 82 and 79 MPs respectively.
Mr Muhyiddins ally, Parti Islam SeMalaysia president Hadi Awang insisted Thursday morning that PN was still in the lead and called on supporters to stay calm. We are working it out.
However, The Straits Times has learnt that Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), which previously pledged its 23 MPs to Mr Muhyiddin, is set to meet at 4pm to decide on whether to abide by the Kings wish for a unity government.
This comes after the Democratic Action Party (DAP) reached out for peace talks with Sarawaks ruling coalition. Secretary general Anthony Loke said he met with the eastern states premier Abang Johari Openg – whose GPS has repeatedly refused to work with PH, especially DAP – on Friday morning.
I informed the premier that if there has been any statement by any DAP leader that has hurt the government or people of Sarawak, on behalf of DAP I openly apologise, he said after the meeting in state capital Kuching which was also attended by deputy Sarawak premier Sim Kui Hian.
I hope this meeting will pave the way to build an understanding and cooperation for the sake of a more developed and progressive Malaysia. Remote video URL More On This Topic Malaysias King enters political minefield again to decide on PM More On This Topic BN in turmoil over who to back as rivals tussle to form govt