Govt and opposition blocs gear up ahead of Parliament showdown

Hariz Mohd, Geraldine Tong
·4-min read
Govt and opposition blocs gear up ahead of Parliament showdown
Govt and opposition blocs gear up ahead of Parliament showdown

MPs aligned to the country's three major political blocs held separate meetings today in preparation for the Dewan Rakyat sitting tomorrow, the first full sitting since Perikatan Nasional took over the federal government in March following defections from Pakatan Harapan.

While pre-Parliament meetings are a convention for most political parties, the gatherings today are crucial in anticipation of a possible showdown.

A number of motions from both the government and opposition have been submitted to the Dewan Rakyat to determine whether Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin enjoys majority support but they are unlikely to come up tomorrow as they are placed far down the list in the Order Paper.

Instead, one of the earliest order of business in the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow will be Muhyiddin's motion to replace Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and Nga Kor Ming as the speaker and deputy speaker as both were appointed during the Pakatan Harapan government.

However, the motion to determine the fate of Ariff and Nga (photo) may also determine Muhyiddin's own fate, as it is seen as a proxy confidence vote of the prime minister. 

If Muhyiddin fails to rally enough MPs to remove Ariff and Nga, it could reflect on his lack of support in the House. Conversely, if he succeeds, Muhyiddin would be on a stronger footing.

Based on information available to Malaysiakini, at least four meetings are being held by the three blocs today, namely PN, Harapan and a third grouping comprising Parti Warisan Sabah and Bersatu rebels led by Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad, which is friendly towards Harapan. 

Party sources told this news portal that BN, which is part of the PN coalition, met at Putra World Trade Centre at 11am today where component parties comprising Umno MCA, MIC and PBRS conducted a meeting for around three hours.

The meeting was chaired by BN chairperson Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is now the BN advisory board chairperson, was also present, according to photographs shared on social media.

The BN meeting concluded at around 1pm, after which they proceeded to Puspanitapuri building in Putrajaya to join other PN MPs from PAS, Bersatu, GPS, PBS, STAR and former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali's G10.

According to the PN meeting schedule sighted by Malaysiakini, MPs there were to start at 3pm with speeches from Muhyiddin and Azmin (above), who is the PN government whip.

Journalists were not allowed into the building and asked to wait outside.

Among the notable figures at the venue included Najib (Pekan), Defence Minister Ismail Sabri (Bera), Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (Sembrong), Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan (Pontian) and PAS' Jerai MP Sabri Azit.

The meeting was scheduled to take place for two hours until 5pm.

Anwar calls opposition blocs to meet

On the opposition side, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, who is also the Harapan chairperson, has called for a meeting of all opposition blocs, including Harapan and Mahathir's group.

The meeting began at 3pm at a hotel in Shah Alam.

Harapan MPs including Anwar and his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is also the Pandan MP, were seen arriving at the hotel at about 2.45pm.

Opposition sources told Malaysiakini that Mahathir and Bersatu MPs loyal to him were also invited to join.

While Harapan and Mahathir's bloc are united in opposing Muhyiddin's PN, they have yet to reconcile over who should be the overall leader of the two opposition blocs and by extension the prime ministerial candidate if they can capture federal power.

At the centre of this conflict are two men - Anwar and Mahathir.

A party operative from Mahathir's bloc told Malaysiakini that Anwar, through the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, had invited them to the meeting in Subang Jaya but it was addressed to Mahathir's son Mukhriz Mahathir, who is the Jerlun MP, instead of Mahathir himself.

Neither MPs from Mahathir's group and Warisan were spotted entering the meeting venue when it concluded at around 4.30pm.

However, DAP and Amanah leaders already met with the third bloc yesterday to coordinate their efforts. PKR was notably absent. 

Malaysiakini was informed that the third bloc held their own separate meeting earlier today in Klang Valley.

DAP and Amanah had in recent weeks acted as the conduit for Harapan and the third bloc amid the apparently irreconcilable differences between Anwar's PKR and Mahathir's group.