World

Anwar summoned by police over viral list of backers for PM bid

Many MPs on the list deny supporting him and have filed police reports

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police have summoned opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to assist in investigations into a viral list of federal lawmakers allegedly backing his bid to claim the premiership, a senior police official said yesterday.

Many MPs on the list denied backing him and filed police reports.

The opposition leader on Tuesday met Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin in a bid to prove he has a "convincing" parliamentary majority to replace Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and form a government.

Mr Anwar had been asked to give a statement today over complaints filed with the police about a list of 121 lawmakers said to be backing his bid for the premiership, which had gone viral on social media, criminal investigation department director Huzir Mohamed said in a statement.

"To date, a total of 113 police reports have been received," Mr Huzir said.

On Tuesday, Mr Anwar said he had submitted documents to the King to back his claim to the premiership, but the palace later said he provided only the number of lawmakers who he said backed his bid and not their identities.

Mr Anwar's claim to the premiership triggered a fresh bout of political wrangling in Malaysia, which is grappling with a spike in coronavirus cases and its worst recession since the global financial crisis.

Matters got even more complicated when Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) said it is seeking an explanation from Umno, its partner in Perikatan Nasional (PN), over its intention to leave the ruling coalition amidst speculation that Umno MPs were amongst those who supported Mr Anwar's bid.

PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah said his party was surprised by Umno's review of its support for PN as there had been no prior discussions on the issue.

"I only knew about it after reading about it in an online portal today. If it is a decision by Umno, we (PAS) cannot do anything about it. However, I am wondering what Umno's real intention is," Mr Mohd Amar said on Wednesday, as quoted by The New Straits Times.

Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan announced late on Tuesday that the party would pull out of PN unless new terms of cooperation are negotiated. The move came just hours after Mr Anwar met with the King.

There is speculation that many of the MPssupporting Mr Anwar come from Umno. - REUTERS, THE STRAITS TIMES

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