KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin is poised to return as Malaysia's 10th prime minister after declaring he has the support of MPs from the two main Borneo coalitions that won the most seats in Sabah and Sarawak.
The Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and the Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) share 28 seats between them, while Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional has 73.
Leaders from GPS and GRS held a meeting with the PN chairman earlier today. Muhyiddin said in a statement issued this evening that GPS and GRS had agreed to nominate him as the prime minister.
The matter had been conveyed to the PN supreme council, Muhyiddin said.
It is unclear if the new government would involve Barisan Nasional. Muhyiddin did not explicitly state if the coalition government he has cobbled together would feature BN lawmakers.
Still, PN would need at least 11 MPs from BN in their fold to form a simple majority.
No coalition won enough seats - 112 from 222 - to form the next government after yesterday's general election, the first time in history.
"I've informed the PN supreme council that I held a meeting with Tan Sri Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, GPS chairman, this morning regarding the formation of the federal government. He had informed me of GPS lawmakers' willingness to support and confidence in me to be appointed as the 10th prime minister," Muhyiddin said.
"I had also held a meeting with GRS chairman Datuk Seri Panglima Haji Hajiji bin Noor who also expressed the preparedness of GRS lawmakers to give me support and confidence.Other lawmakers had also expressed the same thing," he added.
Muhyiddin's statement came just minutes after Abang Johari told reporters in Sarawak that GPS has agreed to be a part of a coalition government with PN.
The Sarawak chief minister suggested the coalition would have BN in it although it is unclear if all of its lawmakers support the alliance. BN lynchpin Umno had previously indicated that it rejects any cooperation with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the party led by Muhyiddin.
But there are talks that Umno could change its position if its president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is removed or steps down. An increasing number of Umno leaders have called for Zahid to resign as they blamed him for BN's worst ever electoral defeat. BN only won just 30 seats.
Muhyiddin is now expected to seek an audience with the King tomorrow. The Palace had issued a statement this evening instructing coalition and party leaders to notify Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Azhar Azizan Harun of their numbers to form a new government by 2pm, Monday.
Should Muhyiddin have enough MPs behind him, the PN chairman could be pronounced prime minister that very evening.
"I am confident that will have enough support from members of the Dewan Rakyat to be appointed as the 10th prime minister by His Majesty the Agong," he said.