Malaysia opposition chief Anwar claims 'majority,' aims to oust PM

Anwar Ibrahim gestures as he gives a speech

Anwar was freed with a royal pardon days after the polls and was Mahathir's designated successor before their alliance fell apart.

In a hurriedly called press conference at the Le Meridien Kuala Lumpur, here, Anwar claimed to have majority support of MPs to form a government, and announced that he would be holding an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong soon.

He declined to reveal the numbers backing him, but said he would do so after seeking an audience with the king, who is now receiving treatment at the national heart hospital in Kuala Lumpur. "Muhyiddin Yassin has fallen".

Anwar said he commanded support from close to two thirds of the legislature's 222 lawmakers, without giving actual numbers or disclosing who had pledged support, though he did stress that the majority of lawmakers backing him were Malay Muslims. He was due to give a televised address to the nation later Wednesday.

Anwar said he was scheduled to meet with the king on Tuesday but it had to be cancelled as the king was unwell and had to be taken to a hospital.

"They [lawmakers] recognize that the country must have strong, stable and accountable leadership to manage the crisis and to do so with compassion and concern for the plight of all people who are struggling in this pandemic economy", Anwar said in a statement. Yet rather than give up, Anwar ended his feud with Mahathir from his prison cell to forge a new opposition alliance that won a stunning victory in May 2018 national elections.

What is likely to have tilted the balance is the Sarawak MPs who are believed to be uncomfortable with the Perikatan Nasional government and could switch sides.

Mahathir then quit as premier, leading to the government's collapse. "What has happened, instead, is the government that's been busy distributing positions, appointments, and contracts to order to cling to an extremely bare razor-thin majority in parliament".



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