Malaysia’s Political Crisis: Day Three

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The political crisis in Malaysia which started on Sunday has now entered Day Three.

While Day One was rife with speculation and nothing more, Day Two was more frenzied with the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman. He was then appointed interim PM pending the appointment of a new prime minister.

Highlights of the day’s events as they unfolded:

Rally against recent political turmoil

8.30pm: About 50 people have gathered here to demonstrate against the recent political turmoil.

The participants carried placards with sayings such as “This is not what voted for” and “Reforms please, not soap opera”.

Geraldine Tong/Malaysiakini

A few of the participants are being given the chance to speak to the crowd one by one.

“This is not what we voted for. What did we vote for? We voted for change. But what did we get? The same old,” said one of the participants from Sabah during her speech.

Khalid Samad: PH has majority

8.05pm: Amanah strategic communications chief Khalid Samad says that Pakatan Harapan has the majority.

He says this when asked by the media after attending the coalition’s presidential council meeting, which was held earlier this evening.

“It was a very happy meeting.

“A lot of things were discussed. Good things,” Khalid says.

When asked about Umno and PAS’ request for a snap polls, he says that Harapan leaders did not discuss it in the meeting.

“No, we didn’t discuss. Why should we waste money on fresh polls when we can get a clear (majority)?”

Khalid, however, mentioned that two-third majority is a “thing of the past”, but what they have is “sufficient” to get a simple majority.

When asked about whether they discussed about Bersatu’s position, Khalid says: “You’ll have to ask them on their position.”

Harapan achieved consensus on plan when meeting Agong

8.00pm: Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub said Harapan has achieved consensus on tomorrow’s plan when meeting with the Agong.

“We made a decision, we will announce it tomorrow.

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“We discussed on three parties still in PH and on tomorrow. We have arrived at a consensus.

However, he declined to reveal who will be the Harapan Prime Minister candidate.

Meanwhile, the three-party-coalition is aware about the fresh polls demand by UMNO, he said.

Leaders leave after Harapan presidential council meeting

7.50pm: Anwar, Wan Azizah, and several other Pakatan Harapan leaders leave the PKR headquarters after concluding a Harapan presidential council meeting.

Other leaders include Lim Guan Eng and Lim Kit Siang, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke, and PKR vice-president Xavier Jeyakumar.

They, however, declined to say anything when approached by the media.

GPS affirms support for Dr M as PM

7.10pm: All 18 GPS lawmakers had affirmed their support for Mahathir as prime minister to the King, says coalition whip Fadhilah Yusof.

This declaration of support comes just moments after Umno and PAS retracted their support for Mahathir.

Umno, PAS retract support for Dr M, want snap polls

6.45pm: BN and PAS retract their support for Dr Mahathir, saying the latter wants to form a unity government based on individuals and not along party lines.

Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa says Mahathir’s plan also goes against the conditional support that they will not cooperate with DAP.

Yusof Mat Isa

“As such the support we gave to Mahathir was to form a coalition without DAP. We are now forced to take it back,” he tells a press conference at PWTC.

In such circumstances, he says, BN and PAS MPs have informed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that they want Parliament to be dissolved and for a fresh election to be held.

Agong asked for PM candidate if Parliament should be dissolved

6.10pm: Umno’s Kuala Krau MP Ismail Mohamed Said reveals that the Agong had asked MPs he interviewed two questions.

Ismail, after being interviewed by the ruler, says the MPs were asked for their candidate as prime minister.

He said that the ruler also asked if they preferred for a new government to be formed or for Parliament to be dissolved.

“So we had two choices, whether to name a prime minister candidate or to dissolve Parliament,” he added.

However, he declines to reveal his preference or choice, citing confidentiality.

Azmin’s ally blames ‘two-time prisoner’ Anwar for Harapan’s collapse

6pm: Azmin’s ally Khalid Jaafar blames Anwar for the overnight collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

Echoing Azmin’s explanation, he says this is because Anwar wanted to stage a “coup de grace” against Dr Mahathir.

“If this had succeeded, Mahathir would have become a ‘lame duck’ prime minister.

Yusof Mat Isa

“Azmin has repeatedly said that a mid-term transition of power will give the wrong signal to the people, especially investors,” he adds.

In the Facebook posting, Khalid also accuses Anwar of “playing two-faced politics.”

“He makes statements in public of supporting and giving space to Mahathir… But behind the scene, the two-time former prisoner orders his lackeys to drum up the transition issue,” he adds.

Umno MPs leave palace

6pm: The entourage of Umno MPs leaves the palace to attend a media conference at PWTC.

Dr M leaves the Prime Minister’s Department

5.55pm: He waves to the media as he passes by.

Ka Siong leaves palace

5.50pm: Ayer Hitam MP Wee Ka Siong keeps mum on the details of the interview with the Agong.

Sarawak CM office says didn’t finalise agreement with peninsular parties

5.35pm: The Sarawak Chief Minister’s Office says Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg had not finalised any agreements with the peninsular parties.

It says this in response to claim that GPS, the Sarawak ruling coalition which Abang Johari leads, had struck a deal with PAS and Umno on forming the federal government.

“This is only speculation by PSB. The chief minister did not finalise any agreement with any quarters in the peninsula,” it says in a statement.

Guan Eng: Meeting tonight to discuss tomorrow’s interview with King

5.30pm: Guan Eng arrives along with his wife Betty Chew and father Lim Kit Siang.

Guan Eng says the meeting will discuss the plan for tomorrow regarding the interview with the Agong.

Harapan leaders arrive at PKR HQ

5.10pm: Amanah leaders Khalid Samad, Salahuddin Ayub, Husam Musa, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, Hatta Ramli and DAP leader M Kulasegaran arrive at PKR headquarters.

It is learnt that the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting will be held here later today.

Asked on what will be the agenda of the meeting, Mujahid and Hatta both say they don’t know yet.

C4 opposes inclusion of Umno into government at all cost

5pm: The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) opposes and rejects any attempt to form a backdoor government.

The watchdog also “strongly opposes and rejects the inclusion of Umno into the government at all cost.”

“Although there are no laws being breached in forming such (a government), it must be remembered that the people voted in the Pakatan Harapan government on the basis of rejecting the previous corrupted regime.

“Therefore, any attempt by the previous regime and current opposition to form a government with corrupted crooks and by bypassing the voters is an act of treachery which must be opposed strongly and fiercely,” it adds.

C4 also urges Harapan MPs to place the interest of the people and nation above everything else.

“We plead for the wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to not allow the ambitions of traitorous politicians in destroying this country.

“We plead for the Agong to protect democracy and let the voters choose their new government in the event Harapan is unable to reconfigure a new executive government.”

Petrajaya MP: I signed a form

4.45pm: Fadillah Yusof says he “signed a form” during an interview session with the Agong today.

Meanwhile, Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar declines to comment about the interview, saying that he and the King were only talking.

PAS lawmakers leave palace

4.17pm: About 30 minutes after Hadi Awang left, a bus ferrying numerous PAS MPs leaves the palace.

Earlier, around 4pm, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh was seen exiting Gate 2.

Sarawak CM drops by PMO, GPS declares support for Dr M

3.50pm: Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg is the latest leader to drop by Perdana Putra today.

Soon after his arrival, a statement from GPS secretary-general Alexander Nanta Linggi declares the coalition’s full support for Mahathir to continue serving as prime minister.

Abang Johari’s car is followed by three other vehicles.

Hadi leaves Istana Negara

3.50pm: Hadi Awang leaves the palace.

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Looking cheerful, Hadi refuses to address the media members and just waves his hand before leaving the area on his car.

Zahid, Najib arrive to meet Agong

3.30pm: An entourage comprising two buses and numerous cars ferrying Umno MPs, including Zahid, Najib, Annuar Musa and Tengku arrive at the palace.

Some PAS and MCA MPs are also believed to be in the entourage.

Ku Li returns to palace to join other MPs

3.15pm: Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who came to the palace this morning and left, returns to join other MPs.

A moment later, Batang Sadong MP Nancy Shukry, Petra Jaya Fadillah Yusof, and Santubong MP Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar came in a group of separate cars.

PKR rep urges GPS, Warisan to support Anwar

3.10pm: Semambu assemblyperson Lee Chean Chung wants GPS and Warisan to throw their support behind Anwar.

In a statement, he claims this is as PKR’s political ideology is closely aligned to the sentiment of the people of Sabah and Sarawak and that the party is present there.

“PKR ideology fights for justice for all rakyat, pluralism and openness that is suitable for Sabah and Sarawak. For the past decade, PKR… has pressed for the legitimacy and importance of Sabah, Sarawak has resulted in many discussions on autonomy in the region of Sabah and Sarawak.

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“[…] This, in the current heated political restructuring, visionary Sabah, Sarawak leaders should pick Anwar or PKR as their political ally so that sincere and practical cooperation can be carried out,” Lee says.

Hishammuddin arrives at the palace

3.08pm: Former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, who is Sembrong MP, arrives at the palace in his own vehicle.

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Kadir Jasin: Dr M appealed Bersatu not to force him into reneging promise to Anwar

2.50pm: Bersatu supreme council member A Kadir Jasin in a blog posting paints a version of events that tallies with what PKR and DAP have been saying about Mahathir.

Kadir says that during Sunday’s supreme council meeting, Mahathir had appealed to the party “not to force him to abandon his principle and renege on his promise” to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim after the Asia Pacific Economic Conference (Apec) summit in November.

He says that Mahathir also resigned as Bersatu chairperson because the supreme council “listened more to his political secretary than him”.

Anwar and DAP have said that Mahathir was not a party to Sunday’s coup attempt.

20 lawmakers arrive at Istana Negara

2.50pm: A bus ferrying about 20 MPs have arrived at Istana Negara to seek an audience with the Agong.

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Earlier, three cars ferrying MPs were also seen entering the palace.

BN, PAS MPs head to Istana, King to meet Harapan tomorrow

2.30pm: BN and PAS lawmakers have boarded a bus and are heading to Istana Negara.

 

Among them are PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan and Baling MP Azeez Abdul Rahim.

The Agong will first interview BN lawmakers today, and Harapan MPs tomorrow.

Bar: Parliament should determine who commands majority

2.25pm: The Malaysian Bar opines that it is Parliament that should determine who commands the confidence of the majority in the august House.

“If indeed Pakatan Harapan has lost its majority, then efforts need to be made to ascertain who is now able to command the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat, to be appointed the prime minister.

“In this regard, we echo the advice of the Attorney-General Tommy Thomas – the government’s chief legal adviser – that the way forward is to have this matter determined by the Dewan Rakyat when it reconvenes on March 10.

Norafifi Ehsan/The Star

“At that point, a vote of confidence or otherwise could be taken and debated against the interim prime minister,” Bar president Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor says in a statement.

He adds that this is as statutory declarations (SDs) cannot be used to determine the support of MPs since the authenticity of such SDs can be disputed.

Jeffrey Kitingan arrives for audience with King

2.21 pm: Keningau MP Jeffrey Kitingan arrives at Istana Negara.

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Wan Saiful promotes “government without opposition” if Dr M gets full support

2.10pm: Bersatu supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan promotes an idealistic scenario, for MPs to form a unity government headed by Mahathir.

“If Mahathir gets 100 percent support from the Dewan Rakyat, he can appoint anyone from any party to be in the cabinet.

Bernama

“In other words, the entire Dewan Rakyat supports him, then a unity government will be formed without there being an opposition. If this can happen, I think the government will be more stable,” he says in a statement.

This idealistic scenario, however, has major obstacles.

Umno has voiced objection to being in a coalition with DAP, and PAS is likely to strongly object as well. Likewise, Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister James Masing also says that GPS doesn’t want to work with DAP.

Amanah, PKR and DAP, meanwhile, will not want to work with Umno, PAS, Bersatu or the defectors from Azmin Ali’s camp.

Umno MPs on standby to be interviewed by Agong

2.10pm: Umno MPs are standing by to be called up to be interviewed by the King.

Ketereh MP Annuar Musa and Bera MP Ismail Sabri Yaacob have been at the Umno headquarters since 10.45am.

Others present are Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Kuala Krau MP Ismail Mohamed Said.

Azmin, Muhyiddin leave PMO

1.58pm: Azmin is seen leaving the Prime Minister’s Department.

Muhyiddin was spotted leaving the premises earlier at around 1.30pm.

King urges rakyat to be patient

1.15pm: The Agong tells the people to be patient in regard to the latest situation.

“We are very concerned…just be patient. First of all, let me do the duties.

“I hope we will find the best solution for the country,” he says.

Earlier, he handed over lunch meals from McDonald’s to the media on duty at the palace.

Agong to interview all MPs today, tomorrow

12.50am: The Agong will be interviewing all lawmakers today and tomorrow.

The comptroller of the royal family and household, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, says the first group of 90 MPs will be meeting the King starting 2.30pm today.

They will each get two to three minutes with the sovereign and the meeting will be witnessed by the chief secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali.

The remaining MPs will meet the Agong tomorrow.

“What is being done by the King is in line with constitutional requirements, that he must have the confidence in one individual,” Ahmad Fadil says.

Anwar enters Perdana Putra

12.35pm: Anwar is seen entering Perdana Putra.

Terengganu MB, Bersatu sec-gen enter Perdana Putra

12pm: Terengganu menteri besar Samsuri Mokhtar is seen entering Perdana Putra at 11.55am.

Bersatu secretary-general Marzuki Yahya is also seen making his way into the complex.

Azmin enters PMO as Hisham leaves

11.39am: A vehicle ferrying former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein is seen leaving the Prime Minister’s Office.

Meanwhile, a vehicle carrying former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali enters the complex.

Johor Umno “confident” can form new government with PKR defection

11.20am: Johor Umno is confident that they can form a new state government together with Bersatu, thanks to a defection from PKR.

“We should be getting one from PKR…this was promised to us by their boss from KL. Maybe there will be more than one,” Johor Umno chief Hasni Mohammad said.

At present Johor has a hung state assembly. PKR, DAP and Amanah have 28 seats, as do Bersatu, Umno, MIC, and PAS.

Selangor Harapan leaders leave after two-hour meeting with sultan

11.10am: Selangor Harapan leaders left Istana Bukit Kayangan in Shah Alam at around 10.45am after a two-hour meeting with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

Speaking to reporters outside the palace, Selangor Amanah chief Izham Hashim says all is well and that the Harapan state government is stable.

“Selangor is all good, there is no problem. The meeting (with the sultan) went smoothly,” he says.

Besides Izham and Amirudin, Selangor DAP chief Gobind Singh Deo also attended the meeting.

Zahid at PMO

11.00am: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is among those at the Prime Minister’s Department complex.

Meanwhile, MPs loyal to Azmin Ali are gathering at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.

Kepong MP accuses Azmin of trying to ‘twist by telling tales’

11am: Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng accuses Azmin Ali of spinning a yarn in trying to justify alleged attempts to form a new government as supporting Dr Mahathir.

“Azmin tried to twist (the narrative) by telling tales and trying to be the hero, while Azmin is the wolf in sheep’s clothing (musang berbulu ayam)…willing to bond with (alleged) corrupt from Umno.

“It is surprising he can claim there are plans to topple Mahathir when Harapan leaders have unanimously handed the decision on power transition (on the premiership) to the (then) prime minister himself,” the DAP lawmaker says in a statement.

He calls on the other 10 PKR MPs who quit the party in the footsteps of Azmin, the former party deputy president, to explain their decisions.

Ku Li arrives at Istana Negara

10.45am: Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah arrives at Istana Negara.

LFL calls for “proper and democratic” fresh election

10.05am: Rights group Lawyers for Liberty says a “proper and democratic” fresh general election must be called as all parties are not able to work together and if there is no one person to command the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

“The Pakatan Harapan coalition was always going to face challenges, but progress was being made towards genuine reform. Under this administration, Malaysia has become a more accountable, transparent and rights-respecting democracy.

“Unfortunately, the coalition has also been tainted by the relentless tussle for power since GE14. Instead of building on the trust and goodwill of the people, this has jeopardised the momentous opportunity for change and disregarded the people’s mandate.

“We urge the elected representatives to firmly focus and continue with the reform process and not allow Malaysia to revert to the old corrupt and divisive politics that we voted to leave behind,” LFL director Melissa Sasidaran says in a statement.

Dr M arrives at PMO

9.40am: Dr Mahathir reaches the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya.

This officially marks his first day entering office as the interim prime minister following his appointment by the Agong yesterday.

Yesterday, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas explained there is no time limit attached to the office of the interim prime minister.

Mahathir may now decide whether to appoint cabinet members at his discretion. This is until a new premier is appointed.

Malacca Harapan no longer controls the State Assembly

8.30am: In what appears to be a move to bid farewell, Malacca Chief Minister Adly Zahari expresses gratitude to those who gave him the opportunity to lead.

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“Although the time is short, I have tried my best with all the energy I have to relieve (the people) from the hunger, evil and sadness,” he says in a social media posting.

Malacca state executive councillor Tey Kok Kiew confirms the Pakatan Harapan-led state government no longer commands the majority in the State Legislative Assembly.

“(Bersatu) had quit from Harapan and we do not have the numbers now,” says Tey, who is the Malacca DAP chief.

Leaders begin to arrive at Mahathir’s house

8.20am: Rina Harun arrives.

8.10am: Mukhriz Mahathir arrives.

8.05am: Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin is the first to arrive.