World

Anwar says he's meeting King next week to present case for becoming PM

He will present case for taking over the premiership from Muhyiddin Yassin

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim yesterday said he will meet with the country's King next week to present his case for taking over the premiership from Mr Muhyiddin Yassin.

Mr Anwar said Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin had agreed to grant him an audience, where he will present documentation "of the strong and convincing majority" of Members of Parliament backing his claim to the premiership.

"I would like to express my gratitude to His Majesty for granting me an audience to meet on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, Insha'Allah," Mr Anwar said in a statement, using the Arabic term for "God willing".

Two weeks ago, Mr Anwar declared he had gathered a "formidable" majority among federal lawmakers to oust Mr Muhyiddin, sparking a fresh bout of political drama.

Mr Anwar had said he commanded support from close to two-thirds of Parliament's 222 lawmakers, without giving actual numbers or disclosing who had pledged support.

The latest twist in Malaysia's protracted power struggle comes after the pandemic saw the country's export-driven economy post its first contraction in the second quarter since the 2009 global financial crisis.

Mr Muhyiddin, whose seven-month-old coalition has survived on a razor-thin majority, had earlier dismissed Mr Anwar's claims as a "mere allegation" and told him to prove his majority through a constitutional process.

Mr Muhyiddin came to power in March after securing a majority with the support of Umno, which was defeated in the 2018 election.

The King plays a largely ceremonial role in Malaysia, but he could appoint a prime minister who in his view is likely to command a majority in Parliament. He could also dissolve Parliament and trigger elections on the premier's advice.

Malaysia expert at the University of Tasmania James Chin said major changes were unlikely straight after the meeting as it was merely "the first move on a chessboard".

The King would probably want to meet Mr Muhyiddin as well to discuss the opposition chief's claims, he said.

The Prime Minister went into self-quarantine earlier this week after a minister he was in contact with contracted Covid-19. - REUTERS, AFP

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