The dramatic turn of events was unimaginable for some as Pakatan Harapan (PH) supremo Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed meeting key leaders from Barisan Nasional (BN) in Kuala Lumpur this morning.
This, despite the fact that Anwar and Pakatan Harapan had, throughout Malaysia’s 15th General Election, attacked BN over its allegedly corrupt leaders. The song ‘Siapa Sokong Penyamun?’ (Who Supports Thieves?), created by rap singer and PKR member Altimet, was also widely played and even sung, by Anwar prior and during the campaign period.
Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk, in March 2021, told Twentytwo13 that he anticipated Umno working with anyone, including Anwar and the DAP, to ensure it remained part of the government.
As some of his BN colleagues were meeting PH leaders at the Seri Pacific Hotel, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reiterated his “No Anwar, no DAP” stand, adding that he was willing to be sacked from Umno for his conviction.
Anwar, instead, insisted it was not a PH or DAP government, but a unity government.
“I am pleased with the outcome of the meeting with the seven representatives from BN,” said Anwar, at a press conference this afternoon.
Among the BN representatives present were chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, his vice-president and caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, and MIC deputy president, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.
“We need political stability to carry the country forward. I am extremely pleased as the focus is on the economy,” added Anwar, who won the Tambun parliamentary seat and went on to lead PH to claim 82 seats in GE15.
The 82 seats, however, fell short of the 112 seats required to form a simple majority, thus forcing the coalition parties – namely PH, BN, and Perikatan Nasional – to enter into unchartered waters.
Anwar stressed that the meeting was not conclusive as BN had to “go through the process of other meetings” before coming to a final decision.
Ahmad Zahid, who is facing corruption charges, had been asked to step down by several BN leaders following the coalition’s humiliating outing in Saturday’s polls, having only secured 30 parliamentary seats, with several of its leaders, including Khairy Jamaluddin, Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, MIC president Tan Sri S.A. Vigneswaran, and MCA secretary-general Datuk Chong Sin Woon, suffering defeats.
“I am still very optimistic that we are able to form a government that is more transparent and more democratic to safeguard the interests of the rakyat.”
Anwar said there was no reference made to drop the charges faced by Ahmad Zahid. The Umno president was acquitted in September of 40 charges of receiving bribes from a company to extend its foreign visa system contract but faces 47 other graft charges involving Yayasan Akal Budi. The case is on-going.
“No reference at all to the anticipated charges,” Anwar said, adding that “it was not raised at all, in private, or in formal meetings.”
He stressed that the court cases would go on as the judiciary was free from the executive.
“We have to proceed to form a unity government. We are the biggest bloc and quite comfortable in the numbers. We still require support from all parties.
“We have to save the country,” he added.
Anwar was also optimistic about the BN-PH partnership in forming the new government in Perak.
“It’s a good start to working together. I look at it positively,” he added.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu, however, said the decision for BN and PH to rule Perak is a “recipe for disaster”.
Ahmad Faizal, who lost the Tambun seat to Anwar, said the action confirmed talks prior to GE15 that Umno was working on a new political landscape with PH, to stay in power.
“We are also wondering what happened to the ‘No Anwar, No DAP’ stand made during Umno’s general assembly,” he said in a statement this afternoon.
He said Perikatan Nasional Perak will remain the opposition if it is unable to form the state government.
Perikatan Nasional’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, this afternoon, said his coalition had submitted “more than 112 statutory declarations from MPs”, stating their support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Malaysia’s 10th prime minister.