MALAYSIA — After reports surfaced that 10 MPs who had previously supported Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin after the 15th general election were considering forcing by-elections, speculation has been rife that a plot is underway to remove current Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
The MPs are said to be planning to resign from their parties, which would trigger the anti-hopping law and result in their seats being vacated.
Speculation was further fueled by a cryptic social media post from Bersatu leader Faiz Na’aman.
The post, made by the BERSATU Supreme Council member, read “Already 126… if it’s true, thank God.”
However, Barisan Nasional (BN) deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan has denied that its Members of Parliament (MPs) are involved in efforts to topple the government as alleged by certain parties.
Although Anwar Ibrahim acknowledged the matter, he characterised such efforts as lacking a strong foundation.
“The conspiracy does exist, but there is no basis. We focus on our work…if there is no conspiracy, what will he (the conspirator) do?”
Anwar further stated that although various efforts are being planned by opposing parties, it is seen as difficult due to the solid support given by all parties in the Unity Government.
“Istana Negara will not consider such assertion”
According to an anonymous source speaking to Malaysian media outlet Free Malaysia Today, Istana Negara (the National Palace) will not consider any assertion by any party that Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has lost majority support.
The source further stated that an unexpected change in government was unlikely, and that “any attempt to change the government through the Palace won’t happen”.
“If there is to be a change in government, it must be done either through a vote of no confidence or the dissolution of Parliament,” the source said.
During the opening of the Malaysian 15th Parliament in February, the Malaysia King expressed his hope for the current government to remain in power until the end of its term.
He said the political crisis could have been avoided if all political leaders and Members of Parliament were willing to set aside their differences and unite on the basis of protecting the interests of the people and the country.
Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, also the only Malaysian King who reigned with four prime ministers and four different Cabinets.
The King received an audience with PM Anwar for a Pre-Cabinet meeting at Istana Negara on Tuesday (2 May).
The current political instability in Malaysia is expected to be resolved by the upcoming six-state elections
Two months ago, Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, the Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS) president, defended the PN coalition’s right to continue its plan to overthrow the Unity Government.
“We see signs indicating that in this mixed government, there is dissatisfaction among its own components. It happens. That is why something like this is not impossible,” he told reporters on 6 March.
Malaysia has been embroiled in political turmoil for the past four years, culminating in the infamous “Sheraton Move” in 2020 that led to the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government – which ended Barisan Nasional’s (BN) dominance in Malaysia that had lasted for over half a century.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had earlier warned that UMNO-PH “forced marriages” would not last long, noting that the ruling parties in the unity government were already publicly attacking each other, which could lead to a “permanent break-up.”
James Chin, a professor of Asian Studies at the University of Tasmania, had earlier commented that the current political instability in Malaysia is expected to be resolved by the upcoming six-state elections.
He argues that if Anwar wants to lead a stable government, he has to win a minimum of three states: Negeri Sembilan, Penang and Selangor.
Dr Lim Chee Han, Co-founder of Agora Society Malaysia, also highlighted that UMNO chairman Zahid and Anwar need each other to make it through this political turmoil.
“Without UMNO in the government, without the governing resources, Zahid’s position as UMNO president is becoming untenable. Without UMNO in the governing coalition make-up, the coalition is also unstable; it gives even stronger bullets to the opposition that the government is basically lacking in bumiputera/Malay’s strong presence.”
Therefore, Dr Lim suggests that UMNO’s decision to stay in the governing coalition would be the primary concern for the unity government.
Correction: Sheraton Move was in 2020