‘Defecting’ Umno leaders in clandestine meeting tonight

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Members of Parliament from both sides of the political divide are scrambling to strike alliances and consolidating their positions before Parliament is reconvened.

Twentytwo13 has learnt that a flurry of meetings and backroom talks have been going on since this morning, stretching into the late evening.

Word is there is a special meeting tonight between Umno leaders ‘friendly’ to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s shaky Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and party president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. The meeting was called for by “one of the more senior” leaders of the 75-year-old party.

Sources said the gameplan of the meeting is for these “roughly 20 Umno MPs” to pledge support to Muhyiddin. If the plan goes ahead, they will no longer be Umno members and instead, become independent MPs ‘friendly’ to PN.

Ahmad Zahid, who is under immense pressure, including from factions from within Umno, was earlier today at Menara Dato Onn, arguing his case and trying to keep the majority of Umno Supreme Council members on his side.

The highly-confidential meeting between the senior Umno leader and Ahmad Zahid was initially called off at 5pm but is back on again. This was supposedly after a Covid-19 scare on the former’s part.

The meeting is supposed to take place at 9pm in a safehouse in Kuala Lumpur.

Ahmad Zahid’s clearest opponents from within Umno include Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who has publicly denounced him as a “traitor”, after Ahmad Zahid did not follow suit in withdrawing his support for PN.

Nazri earlier in the day, doubled back on his proclamations and is now back within the Muhyiddin fold.

Today, de facto Law Minister Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan said that Parliament would reconvene before Aug 1, adding that more details would be forthcoming after next week’s cabinet meeting on July 7.

Takiyuddin’s announcement was the strongest indication yet that the august House would be reconvened after being suspended on Jan 12 this year.

For the past six months, Malaysia had been plagued by political uncertainty with the suspension of Parliament, the declaration of a state of emergency, and the worsening pandemic.

In February, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had said that Parliament could resume, despite the state of emergency. That decree fell on deaf ears.

On June 16, the Agong repeated his call for Parliament to reopen after chairing a meeting with the Malay rulers at Istana Negara. Again, that came to naught.

The third time the Agong decreed for Parliament to reopen was on June 29, after summoning the Dewan Rakyat speaker and the Senate president to Istana Negara in the morning.

Following their audience with the King, Senate president Tan Sri Rais Yatim, and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun had suggested that a special Parliament sitting be held before Aug 1.

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