NEWS

New coalition: Anwar in emergency meeting, Azmin vows to continue reform agenda

Malaysiakini Team

Published
Modified 23 Feb 2020, 4:10 pm

LIVE | Malaysiakini brings you live updates on the developing situation following a flurry of political movements this morning.

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This wraps up Malaysiakini's coverage of the political manoeuvrings to oust the Pakatan Harapan government for today. Stay tuned tomorrow.

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Azmin emerges, vows to continue reform agenda

11.30pm - Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - Azmin Ali stays back with his supporters after most of BN, Bersatu, PAS, GPS and Warisan MPs have left.

After more than an hour with his supporters behind closed doors, he finally emerges. He thanks journalists who have been waiting for him.

"Thank you for waiting for so long. God-willing, we will continue this struggle for the reform agenda, to develop the country and bring prosperity to all Malaysians," he says.

However, Azmin is coy on his party status.

The new coalition will not be announced tonight.


Anwar meets with DAP and Amanah leaders

10.45pm: Anwar's residence, Bukit Segambut - Anwar leaves to meet with Amanah and DAP leaders to discuss the political manoeuvrings by the opposition and some within Pakatan Harapan that may lead to the ouster of the current government.

This is confirmed by Anwar's aide Farhash Wafa Salvador.

"Right now, he is having a meeting with other coalition leaders. He's actually not inside the house. He left at 10.30pm and the meeting is at 11pm," says Farhash.


Umno sec-gen declares Harapan dead

10.25pm - Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa believes Pakatan Harapan is doomed and a new coalition will take its place.

Although no announcement is made with regard to a new government tonight, the Ketereh MP, when asked if Harapan is finished, replies: “I think so.”

On whether there will be a new coalition, he replies: “Very likely.”

Regarding the formation of the new coalition, the veteran politician says this depends on Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

He also denies that Umno will merge with Bersatu.

“No (merger), it is a coalition,” he says.

Asked if the new coalition has the support of 130 MPs, Annuar declines to provide a specific figure but claims that they have “more than half, reaching towards two-thirds.”

The Umno leader also reveals that Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg and Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal met with Mahathir earlier.

According to Annuar, all in Umno are “happy” with the latest developments and have no qualms working with PAS.

“Why not? We have been working with PAS for five decades,” he adds.


PKR leaders arrive to meet Anwar

10.20pm: Anwar’s residence, Segambut - Few PKR MPs including Tan Yee Kew (Wangsa Maju), Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik (Balik Pulau), Fuziah Salleh (Kuantan), P Prabakaran (Batu) and Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai) arrive to meet Anwar.

PKR veteran Syed Husin Ali is present too.

"PKR is okay, those who're not okay have other objectives," Fuziah tells the media.


Anwar says it's a betrayal, expects change of government soon

10pm: Anwar's residence, Segambut - PKR president Anwar Ibrahim describes the political manoeuvring today involving his deputy Azmin Ali, Bersatu, Umno, PAS, GPS and Warisan a betrayal.

He concedes that there are efforts to form a new government and believes it will materialise as soon as tomorrow.

"We are shocked today by the developments - it is a betrayal as there was a promise (to hand over power to him).

"As there are changes, I expect it will happen soon, perhaps tomorrow.

"Even though there is no announcement tonight but from my information, the effort is ongoing," he tells supporters visiting his home for weekly prayers tonight.


'Magnanimous Anwar backstabbed', says Ramasamy

9.50pm: After attending the DAP emergency meeting in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow afternoon, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy says he will visit PKR president Anwar Ibrahim at his residence.

“I will visit Anwar to express my solidarity with his leadership of Pakatan Harapan.

“Even though he was magnanimous in agreeing to Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s request to retire after the Apec summit in November this year, the flurry of events today in trying to form a new backdoor coalition is the greatest betrayal and hardest stab in the back.

“From today onwards, politics in this country would not be the same. The transition agreement has no substance,” he tells Malaysiakini.


MIC chief: I don't know about new gov't, but Azmin is out of PKR

9.40pm: Sheraton Hotel PJ - MIC president SA Vigneswaran downplays the gathering of MPs from both sides of the political divide.

The Dewan Negara president tells reporters that he doesn't know anything about forming a new government tonight.

However, he says PKR deputy president Azmin Ali is quitting the party whereas Bersatu may also leave Harapan.

"As far as I know today, Azmin has come out from PKR and also the possibility of Bersatu coming out of Harapan.

"That's all. Forming the government - I don't know yet. That one you must ask Tun (Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad)," he adds.

As for MIC, Vigneswaran says it will follow the position of BN.


Nga: Backdoor gov't illegitimate, betrayal of people's mandate

9.35pm: A government formed through the backdoor is nothing short of a betrayal of the people's mandate, says Perak DAP chief Nga Kor Ming.

“The only legitimate government is the government from the people, by the people and for the people,” he tweets.

“Any 'backdoor government' without a mandate from the people is a betrayal to the country and the people. It is illegitimate, will not last long and will be punished by the people,” adds Nga, who is also the Dewan Rakyat deputy speaker.

Meanwhile, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy says the nation may be witnessing the formation of an “illegal, immoral and illegitimate” alternative coalition outside Harapan.

“If this happens, then it is a complete betrayal of the mandate given by the rakyat in the last election,” he adds.


Anwar to have an audience with Agong tomorrow, says aide

9.25pm: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim will have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow.

His political aide Farhash Wafa Salvador Rizak Mubarak tells Malaysiakini that the audience is scheduled for 2.30pm.

“This was planned in advance,” he adds.


Hadi leaves building

9.25pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang is seen leaving the hall where the dinner event is being held.

Escorted by an entourage, he then walks towards the hotel lifts and leaves the building.

Shortly after, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and several other PAS MPs also leave the hall. 


Bersatu leaders enter hall 

9.20pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the venue, accompanied by Entrepreneur Development Minister Redzuan Yusof Md Yusof.

About a couple minutes later, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, former International Trade and Industries Minister Mustapa Mohamed, and Perak Menteri Besar Faizal Azumu are seen entering the hall where dinner for MPs are being held.


You are no better than Umno, Maria Chin hammers critics

9.15pm: Former Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah lashes out at those criticising her presence at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya this morning.

“There's a lot of off-track remarks, vicious disinformation, speculation and abusive languages used against me.

“To them, you are no better than Umno as you failed to even want to find out the truth,” she posts on Facebook.


Anwar gives sermon, Penang mufti joins him

9.10pm: Anwar’s residence, Segambut - More than 25 media personnel still gather outside Anwar's residence and they are not allowed to be in the compound.

However, according to PKR's Facebook live, Anwar is giving a sermon to his supporters, together with Penang mufti Wan Salim Wan Mohd Noor.

Political issues are not raised in his sermon.


Just coincidence I'm here, says DAP's Ronnie Liu

8.51pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - DAP's Sungai Pelek assemblyperson Ronnie Liu is an odd-one-out here.

He tells Malaysiakini it is by coincidence that he is here as he has a private meeting but has cancelled it in light of the developments at the venue.

He thinks there is "no way" the new government can be formed tonight and does not think Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad will make an appearance despite the MPs gathering here.

However, he expresses concern that the formation of a new government in the next few days is a real possibility.


DAP to hold emergency meeting tomorrow

8.50pm: DAP will hold an emergency meeting on the latest political developments at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, a source tells Malaysiakini

The meeting is scheduled to start at noon. After PKR, DAP has the highest number of seats (42) in Parliament.


Muhyiddin arrives, greeted with applause

8.35pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at about 8.30pm.

As he enters a separate hall, one floor below where the so-called "Majlis Makan Malam Muafakat Ahli Parlimen" is being held, the crowd inside greets him with applause. 


Change of gov't is expected, says MCA sec-gen

8.24pm: MCA secretary-general Chong Sin Woon, in a live interview with 8TV, says he expected the change of government.

He adds that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has gained enough numbers and there seems to be no turning back.

“No one knows whether the political situation is going to get better or worse, but I believe there will be no turning back now.”

Chong also reveals that MCA was initially scheduled to meet Mahathir tomorrow but the meeting was postponed, as the premier probably will have an audience with the Agong.


Hadi, Zahid, Azmin and various MPs at Sheraton meet

8pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, his Umno counterpart Ahmad Zahid Hamid and PKR deputy president Azmin as well as numerous other MPs from BN, GPS and PAS are spotted streaming into a hall.

Ushers at the venue announce that only MPs are allowed in and urge the crowd to make way.

"MPs only, please go in," says one usher.

Whenever an MP arrives, he or she is ushered into the hall behind closed doors. Police personnel are also guarding the floor.

Azmin Ali, who is also the economic affairs minister, is accompanied by former PKR member Badrul Hisham Shaharin, also known as Chegubard.

Azmin upon arrival is greeted with chants of "Hidup Azmin" by his supporters.

Others seen at the venue are:

PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (Kubang Kerian MP)

Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa (Ketereh MP)

Bersatu supreme council member Redzuan Mohd Yusof (Alor Gajah MP)

PKR's Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang MP)

Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin

MIC president SA Vigneswaran

MIC deputy president M Saravanan (Tapah MP),

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan (Kota Baru MP)

Nik Mohamad Nawawi (PAS – Pasir Puteh MP)

Penang exco Afif Bahardin (Seberang Jaya assemblyperson)

Former Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor

MCA secretary-general Chong Sin Woon

MCA Youth chief Nicole Wong


Zaid: Seek fresh mandate from people

7.55pm: Kelantan DAP chairperson Zaid Ibrahim is urging for a fresh mandate from the people.

“I can't believe this farce has reached the level of the Istana. You don't add the numbers in Parliament to form the government.

“Harapan collapsed, so go for dissolution. A fresh mandate from the people. Mandate does not come from the opposition and MPs with problems,” he tweets.


Anwar's residence a picture of calmness

7.50pm: Anwar’s residence, Segambut - Despite all the commotion happening right now, the situation at Anwar's residence looks calm and peaceful.

About 100 supporters are here to join the weekly prayer event, "Selawat Nuril Anwar".

No prominent leaders are here yet. 


Mujahid appeals for calm, says focus on people and not 'desperate agenda'

7.40pm: Amanah vice-president Mujahid Yusof Rawa appeals for calm amid indications that the Pakatan Harapan government is on the brink of collapse.

He reminds all quarters that the Harapan presidential council's decision on the transition issue was clear.

Without mentioning names, Mujahid (photo) tweets, “Those dissatisfied are taking advantage as if forgetting the people's mandate. All should remain calm and keep the focus on the agenda for the people not an agenda of desperation.”

In earlier tweets, the minister, who oversees Islamic affairs, says “desperate people do desperate things.”

“To us, they are like clouds, when they are not in the way, a beautiful day with sunshine will appear. Make sure desperate people do not get in our way. Stay strong with Pakatan Harapan!

“Move on lah... Is the back door government gang trying to save the country or themselves? I am confident Tun M (Mahathir) and Harapan leaders will respect the (earlier decision),” he adds.


Warisan and GPS, where do they stand?

7.30pm: If a change of government happens tonight, it would have been made possible in part due to support from Warisan and GPS.

Previously there were conflicting reports about who commanded majority support in Parliament.

However, top PKR sources indicate that Anwar had banked on GPS and Warisan to support him instead of Mahathir.

This was despite both sides keeping their cards close to their chest.

"Especial GPS. They're going to have state elections this year and they had the upper hand, why would they join Mahathir?" a source says.

Mahathir has also ruffled feathers in Sabah by setting up a Bersatu chapter there despite initial objections from Chief Minister Shafie Apdal.

It is unclear what motivated them to throw their support behind Mahathir.

GPS has 18 parliament seats, and Warisan 9.

Without them, a coalition of Bersatu, Umno, PAS and 10 PKR defectors would only have 92 seats, short of the 112 needed to form the government.


Annuar Musa and Takiyuddin Hassan arrive

7.25pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - The secretaries-general for both Umno and PAS have just arrived at the hotel.

Annuar Musa and Takiyuddin Hassan are seen entering the holding room for all the VIPs, accompanied by Bersatu’s Malacca exco Rafiq Naizamohideen.

When asked why he was here, Annuar says he was here to “meet his MP colleagues”. 

PAS deputy president and PAS Pasir Puteh MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh arrive shortly after the two secretaries-general. 


Bersatu, Umno, Azmin's PKR, GPS, Warisan and PAS at palace

7.11pm: Istana Negara - A source close to the palace confirmed to Malaysiakini that the six parties at the palace now comprise Bersatu, Umno, PKR (Azmin's faction), GPS, Warisan and PAS.

The leaders present are as follow:

Muhyiddin Yassin (Bersatu president)

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Umno president)

Azmin Ali (PKR deputy president)

Abang Johari Openg (GPS president)

Shafie Apdal (Warisan president)

Abdul Hadi Awang (PAS president)

The source also claimed that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is present but an aide to the latter denied this.


Umno leaders arrive at Sheraton Hotel

7.05pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - A number of Umno leaders have been spotted arriving here.

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri (below) as well as other supreme council leaders such as Putrajaya MP Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, Arau MP Shahidan Kassim and Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said.

Umno lawmakers also present are Maran MP Ismail Muttalib, Paya Besar MP Mohd Shahar Abdullah and Kuala Kangsar MP Mastura Mohd Yazid. Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Md Noor is also here.

Meanwhile, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s aide Fadzlette Othman Merican is spotted and Bersatu’s Jeli MP Mustapa Mohamed has also just arrived.

All of them have been tight-lipped about their purpose in coming to the hotel. 


PMO: No press conference by PM

7pm: A Prime Minister's Office spokesperson says that there will be no press conference by Dr Mahathir Mohamad tonight.

This comes in a PMO media Whatsapp group, in response to journalists request for confirmation if there will be a media conference or major announcement by the prime minister expected later today.

The spokesperson also says that Mahathir would not be at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya, where he is speculated to hold a press conference purportedly on a major political development.

Despite this, a stream of BN and PAS leaders are arriving here.


Representatives from six parties at palace - source

7pm: Istana Negara - A source close to the palace informs Malaysiakini that leaders from six parties have now arrived.

However, the source did not name the parties. 

To date, Malaysiakini can confirm that GPS and Umno leaders are heading to the palace.

The other groups involved in discussions earlier today include PKR MPs aligned to Azmin Ali, Bersatu and Warisan.

PAS was at a scheduled retreat with Umno in Janda Baik.


PAS taking 'wait and see' approach, says veep 

6.40pm - While there is confirmation that Umno and GPS top guns are headed to the national palace, there is no word on whether PAS is involved.

PAS vice-president Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah (above) says his party is taking a "wait and see" approach.

"I'm in Kuala Lumpur but there isn't a PAS meeting... It is a matter for Harapan and the prime minister," he says.


6.35pm: Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - Supporters have congregated on the floor where PKR supporters aligned to Azmin Ali had gathered.

They are mostly lounging around the hotel floor as nothing of note is currently happening.

Earlier today around 9am, PKR leaders such as Zuraida Kamaruddin, Kamaruddin Jaafar, Saifuddin Abdullah and Rashid Hasnon had gathered here.

Along with them were a number of PKR MPs, such as Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin, Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah, Nibong Tebal MP Mansor Othman. Segamat MP Edmund Santhara Kumar’s car was also spotted at the hotel lobby earlier.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected to give a press conference here later today. 


Umno president confirmed heading to Istana Negara

6.30pm: Istana Negara - Malaysiakini can now confirm that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (photo) is heading to Istana Negara.

This is confirmed by a senior Umno leader.

Another Umno source says the gathering at the palace was supposed to have been earlier but was delayed due to GPS' meeting taking longer than expected.

GPS leader Abang Johari Openg's vehicle was earlier spotted on palace grounds.


Police on standby

6.20pm: Selangor police chief Noor Azam Jamaludin, when contacted, confirms that the cops are on standby for a possible press conference by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

This after Malaysiakini asks for clarification over communications sighted by this news portal requesting for police back up to guard leaders at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya.

Political sources tell Malaysiakini that Mahathir is expected to hold a press conference at the hotel after going to Istana Negara.


PKR MPs leave Anwar's residence

6.15pm: Anwar’s residence, Segambut - A number of PKR MPs who are aligned to Anwar have left the residence.

Among of them are Nik Nazmi (Setiawangsa), Johari Abdul (Sungai Petani), Saifuddin Nasution (Bandar Bahru Kulim), Wong Chen (Subang), Chang Lih Kang (Tanjung Malim), Lee Boon Chye (Gopeng), William Leong (Selayang), Fahmi Fadzil (Lembah Pantai), Xavier Jayakumar (Kuala Langat).

The MPs decline to talk to the media. 


Is Dr M heading to Istana?

6.10pm: Istana Negara - A source close to the palace says that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is expected.

The source says Mahathir was expected earlier but has yet to arrive.

Meanwhile, Malaysiakini can confirm that Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg's vehicle is spotted within the palace grounds.


Zahid arrives at Umno HQ, then leaves

6pm: Putra World Trade Centre - Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Umno headquarters but only stays briefly.

Instead, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa will chair a scheduled supreme council meeting as Zahid hurries to another destination.

Umno sources claim Zahid is heading to Istana Negara followed by a planned press conference at Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya, but the claim has yet to be independently verified.


Activities picking up at Anwar's residence

5.50pm: Anwar's residence, Segambut - Activities are picking up here as PKR MPs aligned to Anwar make their way in.

Among them include Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad and Subang MP Wong Chen.

His supporters have called for a gathering amid the political movements.


Warisan in the house

5.38pm: Ritz Carlton Hotel - The focus since morning has been on Azmin's PKR faction, Bersatu, GPS, PAS and Umno.

However, Warisan now appears to also be in the picture as its president Shafie Apdal makes an appearance here, where GPS leaders are also gathered.

He did not speak to the media and proceeded into the hotel. Warisan has a total of nine MPs.


5pm - Quick recap on where things are developing

Sheraton Hotel, Petaling Jaya - PKR leaders aligned to Azmin, some Bersatu leaders

Ritz Carlton Hotel, Kuala Lumpur - GPS, Warisan leaders

Istana Negara - Reporters have gathered since afternoon, convoy spotted

Anwar's Segambut residence - Supporters starting to gather for prayers

Putra World Trade Centre - Umno leaders are gathering, some still on the way

PAS headquarters - PAS sources say there may be a meeting tonight but it is not yet confirmed


This morning, PKR MPs aligned to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali's faction began gathering at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya.

The venue is only 1km away from the Bersatu headquarters in Petaling Jaya, where Bersatu leaders were also meeting.

This had sparked speculation that Azmin's faction may be joining forces with Bersatu but the political intrigue was further fuelled as it became apparent that opposition parties were also involved.

At Ritz Carlton Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, GPS leaders led by its chief Abang Johari Openg had started gathering since afternoon. It was unclear when they flew in from Sarawak.

Then, Umno leaders, who were having a retreat with PAS in Janda Baik, Pahang this morning began rushing back to the Umno headquarters at Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur this evening.

DAP, Amanah and PKR leaders aligned to party president Anwar Ibrahim appear to be out of the loop as several of them, when contacted by Malaysiakini, said they were unaware of the ongoing developments.

Those who are involved, have been tightlipped but the situation continues to develop. 

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