Sheraton Move to remove Anwar, condition to ditch DAP irrelevant, says Chin Tong.
Veteran DAP leader Lim Kit Siang has expressed surprise over the claim by PKR organising secretary Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad that his party president, Anwar Ibrahim, was approached to be part of the “Sheraton Move” conspiracy that toppled the Pakatan Harapan government.
“The version given by Nik Nazmi in an interview with The Malaysian Insight yesterday is completely news to me.
“I met Anwar several times in the week after the Sheraton Move in February 2020, as well in the following months, but Anwar has never mentioned Nazmi’s version of the Sheraton Move to me,” said Lim, who is also MP for Iskandar Puteri, in a statement today.
Lim’s party colleague Liew Chin Tong was more direct in questioning Nik Nazmi’s account, calling it a ‘revisionist take’.
“Perhaps it was meant to remind some DAP leaders to be ‘grateful’ and not to question Anwar for negotiating with Umno’s Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Najib Abdul Razak.
“We can agree to disagree on the question of PKR’s initiative to form a government by negotiating with the ‘court cluster’. But this is best done without altering history,” said Liew, who served as deputy defence minister in the Harapan government.
“On July 1, 2019, not long after the spread of the videos allegedly involving Azmin Ali’s sex acts, an Azmin ally met me and told me that DAP had to choose between Anwar and Azmin and be prepared for the consequences of not choosing Azmin.
“I told him the DAP is duty-bound to ensure the smooth and successful transition between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar,” Liew recalled.
Liew claimed that in October 2019, an attempted move by Hamzah Zainudin, Hishammuddin Hussein, and Azmin Ali was intercepted and did not succeed.
“The plan was to bring 17 Umno MPs from Hishammuddin’s camp, 18 PAS MPs and 18 GPS MPs, altogether 53, to replace MPs from DAP (42) and Amanah (11), also 53.”
“By removing DAP and Amanah, the plotters knew that they would remove the numbers needed by Anwar to become prime minister. Without the support from DAP and Amanah for Anwar’s claim to be PM, Azmin was confident that he could take control of PKR,” Liew added.
“At the Majlis Presiden meeting on Feb 21, 2020, Azmin openly campaigned for Mahathir to stay a full-term while DAP and Amanah leaders, myself included, argued passionately for the coalition to stick to a Mahathir-Anwar transition after Apec.
“The leaked audio recording proved DAP and Amanah’s active defence of Anwar, at the parties’ own perils,” he said.
Liew revealed that throughout the Sheraton coup week from Feb 23-29, he was in many meetings with Anwar’s inner circle and kept personal records and notes.
“The idea of an offer to Anwar to form a government without DAP did not arise as the original purpose of the Sheraton coup was exactly to remove Anwar from the equation,” said Liew.
Yesterday, Nik Nazmi said that if Anwar was so desperate to become prime minister at all costs, he could have ditched DAP during the Sheraton Move scramble for power.
“Had Anwar wanted to be prime minister, he could have done it ages ago.
“Even as recently as the Sheraton Move, he was approached to bring PKR into the new coalition that was being proposed to replace Pakatan Harapan.
“But at that time, the condition was ‘no DAP’, and Anwar did not agree to it,” Nik Nazmi told Malaysiakini, echoing comments he had made earlier in the Malaysian Insight interview.
Without revealing who had made the offer, the PKR organising secretary said Anwar decided to stick with Harapan and rejected the chance to be in a coalition with Bersatu, Umno, and PAS.
“Anwar was not willing to ditch his ally DAP, as the Sheraton Move backers only wanted PKR and not DAP,” said Nik Nazmi.
Anwar has come under pressure after confirming on Tuesday that initial discussions have begun between several PKR leaders and Umno leaders.
Anwar had also hinted there were Umno MPs supportive of the idea of a collaboration.
On Friday, five MPs – Ramkarpal Singh (DAP – Bukit Gelugor), Darell Leiking (Warisan – Penampang), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muda – Muar), Hannah Yeoh (DAP – Segambut), and Maria Chin Abdullah (PKR – Petaling Jaya) issued a statement cautioning Anwar against working with Umno.
“The road to Putrajaya must not be obtained at all costs,” the MPs said, telling the opposition chief that the formation of any coalition must be based on a “noble agenda” and shared value system.
Earlier, representatives of five opposition parties issued a joint statement urging Anwar to unite the opposition and reject any cooperation with “kleptocrats” which was perceived as referring to Najib and Zahid as the former has been convicted in relation to the 1MDB trial and is still facing more charges, while the latter is also facing graft charges in court.
Among the signatories of the statement were DAP and Amanah leaders, which are allies of PKR in their Pakatan Harapan coalition.