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Dr M should not pre-empt Agong's announcement – Harapan

LIVE | Malaysiakini brings you live updates on the developing situation following the collapse of the 20-month-old Pakatan Harapan government.

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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.

Read Malaysiakini's previous live updates on Feb 23 (Sunday), Feb 24 (Monday) and Feb 25 (Tuesday) and Feb 26 (Wednesday).

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Mahathir shouldn’t pre-empt the king’s announcement – Harapan

10.55pm - Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should not pre-empt the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by announcing a special Dewan Rakyat sitting, says the Pakatan Harapan presidential council.

In a statement following an emergency meeting, it says the power to appoint a prime minister lies with the king in line with Article 40(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

“The interim prime minister’s announcement on the call for the parliamentary sessions to choose a prime minister is a challenge to the rights and privileges of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

“As we all know, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is scheduled to meet the Council of Rulers to discuss this matter. The presidential council urges all parties to respect the discretion and authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on this matter,” it says.

Meanwhile, when met outside the meeting venue, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil tells reporters that the meeting did not discuss Mahathir’s proposal for a unity government.

He adds that MPs have yet to receive any notice of the upcoming special sitting on March 2.

Johor Harapan challenges 'new coalition's’ claim to form state gov't

9pm - At a press conference in Johor tonight, Johor Pakatan Harapan says a “new coalition” comprising Bersatu, Umno, MCA, MIC and PAS failed to garner a majority.

“Johor Harapan would like to stress that we have the support of 28 assemblypersons — nine from Harapan, 14 from DAP and five from PKR. And all are in attendance tonight.

“So, the new coalition does not have the majority to form government,” Johor Amanah Chief Aminolhuda Hassan said. 

All Harapan representatives, including PKR’s Pemanis assemblyperson Dr Chong Fat Full, were seen holding up their seat code numbers onstage.

Earlier today, the Johor Palace and Menteri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal both declared the new coalition was now in power.

The new coalition now has 27 seats while Harapan has 28 in the 56-seat Johor legislative assembly.

The sole representative who has yet to declare his allegiance is Bersatu’s Puteri Wangsa assemblyperson Mazlan Bujang. He was reported in Johorkini as saying he was waiting for instructions from Bersatu's top leadership as to which coalition he should support.

Johor Harapan tells the media that they will hold a second press conference in one hour. 

Nazri back in country, rejects unity gov't

7.45pm - Umno's Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz (below) is back in the country from a holiday and will be in Parliament for the March 2 vote on who will be prime minister.

Asked about Mahathir's unity government plan, Nazri says that as a party man he will object it.

"Unity government is out of the question, you either work with all of us or none of us," he tells Malaysiakini.

He says that he will support a call for snap polls instead.

"From the beginning, I've said that the Umno president in 2018 had said the party's stance is that we will be the opposition until GE15, and we are working with PAS for GE15.

"So, I'm pursuing these two. If it means GE15, then we got what we wanted," he says.

Harapan MP: Can interim PM call for special Dewan Rakyat sitting? 

7.45pm: A Pakatan Harapan MP asks if interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has the power to call for a special Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the MP tells Malaysiakini that Clause 11(3) of the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat only allows the “prime minister” to do so, not the interim premier.

Under Clause 11(3), the prime minister can ask the speaker of the House to call for a sitting in the interest of the public.

Meanwhile, PKR vice-president Chang Lih Kang questions why Mahathir needs to call for a special sitting to decide the prime minister candidate when the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah completed a similar process in the past two days.

"The strangest part is I am made to understood that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will discuss the matter at the Conference of Rulers tomorrow. So, why the need to make a decision today?

"I cannot think of any other reason except that the outcome may not be in favour of him (Mahathir)," he adds.

Be prepared for polls, Umno machinery told

7.30pm: Umno's top leadership has instructed the party's election machinery to be prepared for the possibility of a snap election.

“It is appropriate that we make preparations towards this end although we do not know what the palace (Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah) will decide,” says secretary general Annuar Musa.

Bersatu fully backs Muhyiddin for PM - Redzuan

7pm: Muhyiddin's residence, Bukit Damansara - Bersatu supreme council member Redzuan Yusoff says the party will "100 percent" back its president Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.

"Yes we support the candidacy announced by Mahathir (for Muhyiddin) to be the eighth prime minister," he says.

Mahathir had said that Muhyiddin brought up the matter during a meeting at the Prime Minister's Department but did not say he was endorsing Muhyiddin.

Redzuan says that if Mahathir's support is included, this will mean Bersatu has "37" MPs backing Muhyiddin.

Bersatu only has 26 lawmakers. It is not clear who the remaining 11 are, but this could refer to Gombak MP Azmin Ali's faction.

Azmin's lieutenants Zuraida Kamaruddin, Hillman Idham were among those at the meeting with Bersatu leaders at Muhyiddin's home.

Media shouldn’t take part in cheap publicity stunts, says group

6.10pm - The media group Gerakan Media Merdeka (Geramm) says media practitioners should not become “agents of cheap publicity” and urges media agencies to adopt no-gift policies.

This comes after various commercial entities feted reporters waiting outside Istana Negara with various goodies over the past few days.

It notes that many prominent media agencies around the world prohibit its staff from receiving gifts above a certain value, and said local reporters should do the same.

“This practice would help ensure media freedom is safeguarded from being influenced by commercial interests.

“Geramm believes such practice should be adopted by local media agencies, whether at the organisational level or based upon the conscience of individual media practitioners,” it says in a statement on Facebook.

The group also condemns a YouTuber’s attempt yesterday to distribute RM10,000 worth of RM1 notes to reporters waiting outside the palace, saying that the move is an insult to the media profession as a whole. 

The stunt had been cut short when police intervened.

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Dr M: Muhyiddin possible candidate for PM, willing to accept Umno en-bloc

5.35pm - Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad confirms he had a discussion with Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin this afternoon.

He says the discussion included the possibility of Muhyiddin (photo) becoming Bersatu's candidate to be the next prime minister.

"If everybody chooses him, I'm okay," says Mahathir, adding that he will accept if the majority of MPs choose Muhyiddin (above).

Asked if this means Bersatu will name two candidates, including himself, Mahathir says the party has not reached a decision on this.

Mahathir reveals that he and Muhyididn have differing views on working with Umno, with the latter prepared to accept the party en-bloc.

At the same press conference, Mahathir also confirms he has agreed to remain as Bersatu chairperson.

Dr M: No clear majority, King leaves matter to Parliament on March 2

5.30pm - Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the King has found no one "with a distinct majority".

"And because there is no distinct majority, he (the King) says the right forum is the Dewan Rakyat.

"So Parliament will be called on the 2nd of next month... whoever has majority support in Parliament will become prime minister.

"However, if the Dewan Rakyat fails to find a person with a majority, we will have to go for a snap election," he says.

Johor MB: We decided to work with Umno after talks with Muhyiddin

5:30pm - Johor Menteri Besar Dr Sahruddin Jamal confirms that the state's "new coalition" government comprises of his party Bersatu, Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS and "several individuals".

The parties will next discuss "a list of names" to propose to Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar as their menteri besar candidate before they decide their exco lineup and a name for their coalition.

Asked why Johor Bersatu had decided to work with Umno, Sahruddin (below) explained that they had done so following discussions with "top central leadership".

"I discussed with party president Muhyiddin Yassin," he added when pressed if state party chief Mazlan Bujang was consulted.

He sidesteps a question on whether Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad was consulted.

"We, in Johor, are of the view that we needed to expedite the forming of a new government. In Johor, we used this method so that the state government could be formed," he said.

Bersatu MPs and other leaders waiting at Muhyiddin's house

5.25pm - Several parliamentarians and Bersatu leaders are seen arriving at Muhyiddin Yassin's residence in Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur.

Among those present are Hamzah Zainuddin, Radzi Jidin, Maszlee Malik and Kamaruddin Jaafar.

However, they decline to respond when asked about the purpose of their visit to the Bersatu president's house.

It is understood that the meeting at his house was held after Muhyiddin met with Mahathir in Putrajaya.

Snap polls could cost up to RM800m - EC chair

5.18pm - A fresh election could cost the country between RM700 million to RM800 million, the Election Commission (EC) states.

EC chairperson Azhar Azizan Harun (photo) tells Malaysiakini this is a "guesstimate" should snap polls be called in the wake of the current political crisis.

He is asked to clarify a tweet by former Bersih chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan who claimed she was informed by Azhar that the cost of a snap election could be between "RM750 to RM800 billion".

Ambiga later corrected herself over the tweet, stating she meant million, not billion.

Dr M announces economic stimulus package in wake of Covid-19

5pm: Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announces the economic stimulus package in view of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He extends his gratitude to doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, immigration officers and other officials who are at the frontline to protect Malaysians from the spread of the virus.

Zuraida dodges poser on willingness to work with Umno to 'save nation'

4.40pm: Zuraida Kamaruddin (photo) dodges a question on the willingness of a group of former PKR lawmakers to join hands with Umno in their quest to save the nation.

When pointed out that the group was once part of Pakatan Harapan, which wanted to rescue the nation from the clutches of Umno, the Ampang MP replies: “Saya tak tau hal tu (I don't know about that).”

Saya tak ada jumpa mereka (I did not meet them),” adds the former PKR vice-president without elaborating and shuts her car door.

Zuraida is approached as she leaves Hotel Sofitel in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon.

Batu MP defends Harapan's stance against unity gov't

4.35pm: Batu MP P Prabakaran defends the Pakatan Harapan coalition's stance against a unity government proposed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He says such a system would be “built on a compromise with no majority”.

“As the youngest member of Parliament, I wish to be able to remind the younger generations to be principled in their actions and firm in their opinions. I quote the late Karpal Singh, ‘There are no permanent enemies or permanent friends, but there must be permanent principles’,” the PKR lawmaker says in a series of tweets.

Bersih: Let rakyat choose if no PM candidate has clear majority

4.25pm: Irrespective of who gets picked, the new prime minister must apologise to the people and restore public confidence, says Bersih.

“The new prime minister and government must set the tone for reconciliation, not just among the politicians and parties, but among the rakyat,” the electoral watchdog says in a statement.

It further calls on the interim PM to request the Agong to dissolve Parliament and “return to the rakyat to confer a fresh mandate to a new government of their choice” should no candidate present a clear majority.

“This is not an ideal time for a snap election given the fact that deep structural defects of malapportionment and gerrymandering from GE14 not only remains in our electoral boundaries but has gotten worse.”

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We gave you our seat, come back to Harapan – Amanah to Bersatu MP

3.55pm: Khalid Samad recalls how Amanah allowed Bersatu's Rina Harun (photo) to contest in the Titiwangsa parliamentary seat despite it being earmarked for the party.

“Bersatu had no machinery except for Pakatan Harapan's machinery from Amanah, PKR and DAP.

“I call upon Rina, come back to be with Harapan and to be honest with (her voters)... The mandate was for Harapan,” he tweets.

In an earlier tweet, he notes how PKR made way for Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in Muar, Johor, despite strong support for its candidate.

“Syed won with a 6,000-vote majority. From the 22,000 votes Syed obtained, almost 80 percent was from PKR, Amanah and DAP,” he adds.

Muhyiddin leaves Perdana Putra after more than an hour 

3:50: Prime Minister's Department, Putrajaya - Muhyiddin Yassin leaves Perdana Putra one hour 15 minutes after he arrived.

Malaysiakini understands that Mahathir had summoned him there for a meeting.

Prove you have the numbers - Malacca Umno tells Harapan

3.50pm: PWTC - Malacca Umno chief Ab Rauf Yusoh demands the state Harapan prove that it has the numbers to hold on to the state.

This is after Chief Minister Adly Zahari (photo) declared a status quo in the state government earlier today.

"Prove to the governor (you have the majority) by immediately handing in statutory declarations," he says.

He adds that BN is ready to form the state government and is working to secure the necessary statutory declarations.

Harapan originally commanded 15 out of the 28 Malacca state seats. If the two Bersatu reps switched sides following the party's exit from the coalition, that would give Harapan only 13 state assembly seats.

'We change by the day' - Anwar says of ties between Harapan and Bersatu

3.30pm: Eastin Hotel - PKR president Anwar Ibrahim indicates that Harapan's ties with Bersatu are fluid.

"We change by the day," he says when asked if Harapan would accept Bersatu again.

Previously, Anwar had referred to Bersatu as "former friends" after Sunday's coup attempt.

Meanwhile, despite fluidity with Bersatu, Anwar says the issue of meeting Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not discussed. 

Ex-deputy minister pays staff out of own pocket

3.20pm: Former youth and sports deputy minister Steven Sim Chee Keong (photo) says he is paying some of his staff out-of-pocket after they lost their jobs following the collapse of the federal government.

"Working in a political office often involves the risk of instability in one's career and livelihood.

"One of them resigned two months ago from his job as a journalist to join me. Monday 24 Feb was his first day in my office. And also his last.

"I told them that I will ensure they are paid for the next two months, out of my pocket," he says.

Kit Siang prepared to consider unity gov't if Harapan acts as its core

2.55pm: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang says if a unity government is to be mooted, it should be built on the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

He says it is "foolish and short-sighted to establish a unity government by destroying the Harapan government.

"Although the idea of a national unity government is attractive and should be considered by all rational Malaysians, one thing is clear: No national unity government can be established on treachery, deceit, corruption, betrayal of the people’s mandate or by promoting national disunity.

"The ideal way to establish a national unity government is to build on the Harapan coalition and convince other political parties and entities to come together in the larger interest of the nation to build a New Malaysia – based on the Harapan mandate in the 14th general election for a New Malaysia," Lim says in a statement.

Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had proposed a new government that does not follow party lines but Harapan leaders are concern that it will include people involved in the "Sheraton Move".

The Sheraton Move was a series of political manoeuvres initiated by 11 rogue PKR MPs led by Gombak MP Azmin Ali with Bersatu, BN, PAS, Warisan and GPS to form a new coalition dubbed Perikatan Nasional to replace the Harapan government.

Cops preparing for polls viral photo ‘inaccurate’ - Gombak police chief

2.35pm: Gombak district police chief Arifai Tarawe denies that police are preparing for a general election after a photo indicating such is being circulated.

This comes as an image making its rounds on social media in which Gombak police appear to be seeking the names of officers and civil staff at every branch and station in preparation for GE15.

“The image of a police circular dated Feb 26... that is circulating on social media is an error and inaccurate.

“The true meaning (of the form) is for human resources assistance for keeping the peace, not the general election.

“An investigation is being conducted against the party responsible and to identify those who spread (the image),” his statement reads.

Palace declares new coalition gov't in Johor after interviewing 54 of 56 reps

2.19pm: The Johor palace has declared a new coalition government in the state.

This is after Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar interviewed 54 out of 56 assemblypersons in the state.

In a statement, the palace confirms that Menteri Besar Dr Saharuddin Jamal of Bersatu and Johor Umno head Hasni Mohamad met with Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar yesterday to inform him of a new coalition.

This is in the aftermath of Bersatu pulling out of the Pakatan Harapan coalition two days earlier.

To confirm this, it says the ruler interviewed 54 out of 56 assemblypersons in the state and found that 28 supported the new coalition whereas 26 backed the Pakatan Harapan government.

Two assemblypersons “tidak dapat hadir” (could not attend). These were Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub (Simpang Jeram) and Johor Bersatu chief Mazlan Bujang.

[Read full report here

Covid-19 'bigger threat' to sports than current political crisis

2pm: National Sports Council (NSC) director-general Ahmad Shapawi Ismail says the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak constitutes a bigger threat to sports than the current political upheaval in the country.

He is quoted by portal Twentytwo13 as saying that the current imbroglio does not disrupt the sports budget as the money allocated has already been channelled to the various programmes

“Including RM22.5 million for the Road To Tokyo programme,” he says.

Shapawi adds: “The instruction by the chief secretary to the government (Mohd Zuki Ali) is that we continue as it is. It’s business as usual.  

“The Covid-19 seems to be a bigger threat for us at the moment. Tournaments have been disrupted and this in return disrupts our athletes’ preparation ahead of the Olympics.”

We did not quit Bersatu - Penang reps insist

2pm: Komtar, Penang - Bersatu assemblypersons, Khalib Mehtab Mohd Ishaq (Bertam) and Zolkifly Md Lazim (Teluk Bahang), insist that they have not quit their party.

They are aware that since 2012, Penang has applied the anti-hopping law against those who defect to other parties or become independent.

"We did not quit Bersatu. Our party left Pakatan Harapan," says Zolkifly.

Zolkifly Md Lazim

In a statement today, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow says the two elected representatives met with him at 1pm.

"In the meeting, the duo expressed their commitment to continue supporting the CM and the state Harapan government.

"It's status quo for the two assemblypersons from Bersatu until further notice, pending developments in Putrajaya," he adds.

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Dr M set to return as Bersatu chair, says sec-gen

1.50pm: Dr Mahathir Mohamad is set to return as Bersatu chairperson after quitting the post on Monday, reports Bernama.

The news agency quoted Bersatu secretary-general Marzuki Yahya as confirming this.

Yesterday, Mahathir, in his speech, said he was upset with Bersatu because it was willing to work with Umno and this is the reason he resigned.

Harapan leaders hold impromptu meet at Eastin hotel

1.40pm: Pakatan Harapan leaders are holding an impromptu meeting at Eastin hotel in Petaling Jaya.

It is learnt that PKR lawmakers had gathered at the hotel earlier for a meeting.

Among the leaders present for the meeting are PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, vice-president Chang Lih Kang, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and veteran leader Lim Kit Siang.

'To rebuild nation and fulfil people's hopes' – Kit Siang quotes Dr M

1.30pm: DAP veteran says a national unity government cannot be established on treachery, deceit, corruption, betrayal of the people's mandate or by promoting national disunity despite the idea being attractive and should be considered by all rational Malaysians.

“It is foolish and short-sighted to purportedly establish a national unity government by destroying the Pakatan Harapan government.

“The ideal way to establish a national unity government is to build on the Harapan coalition and convince other political parties and entities to come together in the larger interest of the nation to build a New Malaysia – based on the Harapan mandate in the 14th General Election for a New Malaysia.

“Or to use the words of the chairman of Pakatan Harapan (Dr Mahathir Mohamad) in the foreword to Buku Harapan dated March 8, 2018, policies and actions 'to rebuild the nation and to fulfil the hope of the people',” he adds.  

Ranau MP denies quitting PKR with Azmin's group, then deletes denial

1.16pm: Three days after a bloc of rogue PKR MPs announced they were quitting the party, one of them has now come out to deny that he was involved in the move.

Ranau MP Jonathan Yasin maintains that he is still a PKR representative.

"For the record, I am still in PKR. I also deny that I had consented to quit PKR.

"I will explain this matter to the (party) committee and bureau this evening," he says in the now-deleted statement on Facebook.

After deleting the Facebook post, he uploads a new one which read: "Any issues about my position in the party will be discussed with the party's committee members and bureau this evening. #Keep calm".

[Read full report here]

Johor state assembly sitting postponed

1pm: Johor state assembly sitting slated to be held on March 5 is now postponed to a new date, confirms Pakatan Harapan's Mengkibol state assemblyperson Tan Hong Pin.

"Speaker Suhaizan Kayat says the sitting will be called after everything is settled down," Tan tells Malaysiakini.

He, however, says so far the state assembly has not fixed a new date for the sitting.

Earlier, Suhaizan is reported by Malay Mail as saying he made the decision in his capacity as the state assembly speaker in accordance with the provisions under Article 7(3) of the Johor state legislative assembly laws and standing orders.

He explains that a reshuffle of the Johor exco is likely to take place later.

Malay rulers to meet Agong tomorrow

12.55pm: The Malay rulers are set to meet with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah tomorrow before Friday prayers, The Star reports.

The Agong has already met with interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and leaders of political parties earlier this week, in addition to holding brief meetings with all lawmakers to ascertain who holds majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

An aide from the Istana Negara did say that the meeting had yet to be confirmed.

[Read full report here]

Dr M doesn't want to fulfil Harapan manifesto - Guan Eng

12.55pm: DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng says Dr Mahathir Mohamad is no longer committed to fulfilling the promises outlined in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

He says this was conveyed to him during their meeting on Feb 25. 

[Read full report here]

Johor rep declares backing Harapan

12.50pm: Johor's Pemanis assemblyperson Dr Chong Fat Full declares he is backing Pakatan Harapan.

"I maintain my support for Harapan," he says in a brief statement.

Chong was widely speculated to be defecting from PKR, and is believed to have joined seven Bersatu assemblypersons in signing statutory declarations backing a new coalition state government.

However, with him swinging back to Harapan, the current state government now has 28 backers against 26. Two other assemblypersons, Amanah's Salahuddin Ayub and Bersatu's Mazlan Bujang have yet to sign an SD.

Mahathir back at his office

12.25pm: Prime Minister's Department, Putrajaya - Mahathir is back in Perdana Putra.

Khalid likens Dr M's unity gov't plan to a dictatorship

12.20pm: Amanah communications chief Khalid Samad likens Dr Mahathir Mohamad's unity government plan to a dictatorship.

"Mahathir has left Pakatan Harapan when Bersatu left. He wants a mandate for himself on a personal capacity, no ties, no commitments to anyone.

"Full and total authority. How can we agree to a dictatorship?" he tweets.

Khalid says Harapan supporting Anwar Ibrahim was the right thing to do despite its risks.

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Mukhriz to stay as head of Harapan plus Bersatu gov't in Kedah

12.05pm: Alor Setar - Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir will remain in his post as he has obtained the support of Pakatan Harapan.

At a press conference today, Mukhriz says the Kedah government now consists of Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan.

However, it is not a unity government as envisioned by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he adds.

"Everything remains the same except we are now known as a Bersatu-Pakatan Harapan government in Kedah. It's business as usual for all sectors," Mukhriz says.

He says he had an audience with the Kedah ruler today and briefed him about the current political situation.

Mukhriz adds that he also submitted 18 support letters to the sultan, saying the decision among them was unanimous to keep him as MB.

"The Sultan accepted the support letters. We urge the rakyat to remain calm and rational.

"Kedah is not impacted. We are just doing this to stabilise the state. Our focus is in Kedah, and we hope the crisis will be resolved soon," he stresses.

Accompanying Mukhriz are DAP, PKR and Amanah assemblypersons.

Interim PM leaves palace

12pm: Istana Negara - Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad leaves the palace after a one-hour audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah. 

Annuar denies Umno, PAS named Muhyiddin as PM candidate

11.55am: Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa denies a report by The Star that Umno and PAS agreed to nominate Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin (photo) as a prime minister candidate.

“This is not true,” he tweets. “Our stand remains that we want Parliament to be dissolved.”

Annuar says statements regarding Umno's stand can only be made by the president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or himself.

The Star quoted PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man as claiming that Umno and PAS lawmakers inked a statutory declaration (SD) in support of Muhyiddin.

Umno and BN have 42 parliamentary seats whereas Bersatu has 26, including Dr Mahathir Mohamad's Langkawi seat.

Despite Mahathir quitting as Bersatu chairperson, the party's supreme council has decided to support his leadership.  

Mahathir arrives at Istana Negara

10.57am: Istana Negara - Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives at Istana Negara, entering the palace via Gate 1.

Dr M to meet with the Agong

10am: Interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is enroute to meet with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.

Mahathir is set to meet the ruler at 11am. This is confirmed by the Prime Minister's Office to Malaysiakini.

This comes a day after his live telecast address in which he apologised for the current political turmoil and says he resigned as the nation's seventh premier as he cannot accept a planned move by his own party Bersatu to bring Umno back into government.

In his speech, Mahathir revealed his plans for a non-partisan government - or unity government - saying the new administration would focus on national interests instead of political parties.

All Umno division chiefs to hold meeting at HQ 

9.55am: Umno is scheduled to meet all the191 division chiefs at the party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur at 3pm today.

"All division chiefs nationwide are asked to immediately come to Kuala Lumpur for a special meeting with the party president and the supreme council," says Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa (photo).

In a series of tweets today, he also questions the legitimacy of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the interim prime minister.

"The prime minister has lost his legitimacy as he no longer has the support of the majority (in Dewan Rakyat)... Is it true that the prime minister was also rejected by his own party ?" asks the Ketereh MP.

Annuar urges the party chiefs to find a way out to resolve the critical political situation.

He reiterates that the only choice is to dissolve Parliament and allow a fresh mandate from the people.

Annuar holds PKR president Anwar Ibrahim and PKR responsible for causing the problem by retracting their support for Mahathir as the next premier.

He says the Muafakat Nasional, formed by Umno and PAS, is ready to engage with others, particularly multiracial parties in the peninsula, to work together ahead of the 15th general election.

"As for Sabah and Sarawak, Muafakat Nasional adopts a different approach by giving them the full autonomy as enshrined in the Malaysia Agreement 1963," he says.

PSM says Dr M should withdraw from race after 'losing mandate'

8.55am: PSM deputy chairperson S Arutchelvan welcomes Pakatan Harapan’s move to stating “clearly and firmly” a prime minister candidate while committing to honouring its GE14 manifesto.

He opines that the Pakatan Harapan coalition had failed to prioritise its own manifesto or was “too weak” in implementing it.

“Harapan frequently fought over the issue of transition of power (over the premiership) and did not agree on issues pertaining to race,” he says in a statement.

He adds that as Dr Mahathir Mohamad has lost the mandate of the MPs - with the latter now finding himself at third place in terms of the number of MP support - he should withdraw from the race.

“(He should) release the future of the country’s politics to other parties.”

Ramasamy deems it 'poetic justice' that Anwar is now in the lead

8.30am: Penang deputy chief minister (II) P Ramasamy (below) deems it “poetic justice” that a move to undermine PKR president Anwar Ibrahim now sees the latter seemingly leading the running to be prime minister.

This is after it emerged yesterday that Pakatan Harapan has rescinded its support for interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and backed Anwar as prime minister candidate.

Anwar currently stands at having the most support from MPs, with 92.

“Mahathir’s non-attendance at the crucial Pakatan Harapan meeting, the pressure exerted on the coalition, the need to address the concerns of the rakyat and Harapan’s reluctance to go along with the nebulous and impractical idea of unity government paved the way for the nomination.

“[...]It is strange and kind of poetic justice that a deceitful movement that started out to undermine the Harapan coalition in general and Anwar in particular, took an opposite direction in empowerment.

“Let’s hope that Anwar succeeds in proving the majority in parliament, forms a good government and most importantly implements what were promised to the rakyat before the last general election,” the Perai assemblyperson says in a statement.

Ex-minister apologises for political deadlock in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

8.10am: Former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad apologises to Malaysians for the political impasse in the country.

He urges those who caused the political crisis to stop punishing the rakyat with their greed and bad behaviour.

"The people are waiting for a stimulus package and solicitude of the government to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, but this is what we gifted as resolution," laments the Amanah strategic director.

"The political impasse in determining the eighth prime minister invites various reaction and involves less productive discourse and that may be disastrous," he says in posting on social media.

He calls for an end to the state of uncertainty.

"It is not appropriate that the country is only steered by only an interim or caretaker prime minister in a prolonged manner," he says.

Interim PM does not exist in nation’s constitution, says former AG

7.50am: Former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali questions the legitimacy of interim prime minister.

"The interim prime minister does not exist in the Federal Constitution," he says.

"Under the current situation, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong can exercise his discretion by dissolving the Dewan (Rakyat) if His Majesty opines no parliamentarian commands the majority to be appointed as the prime minister."

On Feb 24, Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah consented to appoint Dr Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister after accepting the latter’s resignation earlier in the day.

Day 5 of the political upheaval

7am: It's Day 5 of the political crisis that has gripped the country following a failed coup attempt on Sunday.

Interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to form a government that "sets aside" political parties, while Pakatan Harapan wants PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim in charge.

BN and PAS, meanwhile, are calling for Parliament to be dissolved and new elections held.

But with no one commanding a majority in the House, it is now up to the Yang diPertuan Agong to decide the fate of the country after having interviewed all lawmakers.

It's unclear if the sovereign will announce a decision today, but in the meantime expect political players to be busy trying to break the impasse.


Malaysiakini LIVE report

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Harapan leaders explain backing Anwar, why unity gov’t ‘unworkable’

Doubts over numbers of MPs backing PM candidates given to media

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