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‘Very pleased’ with PH-BN talks, corruption cases not part of negotiation, says Anwar

‘Very pleased’ with PH-BN talks, corruption cases not part of negotiation, says Anwar
PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim speaking to the media after meeting with BN leaders on Nov 21, 2022 at 2:40pm. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman Anwar Ibrahim said that he was pleased with the progress of discussions with Barisan Nasional (BN) on Monday (Nov 21) on the possibility of the two coalitions forming a new government. 

PH and BN leaders met on Monday morning at the Seri Pacific hotel to discuss the formation of the new government ahead of an earlier deadline set by the national palace for all winning parties to submit their proof of support of members of parliament by 2pm. 

On Monday afternoon, the palace announced that the deadline has been extended to 2pm on Tuesday.

Speaking to the media after the talks, Mr Anwar said the two coalitions focused only on forming the new government and the issue on the status of any corruption cases was not part of the discussions. 

"We (BN and PH leaders) have held some discussions, we outlined our principles and would like to take this  opportunity to form a stable inclusive government under my leadership,” said Mr Anwar, who is also Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president.  

He said the discussions centred on creating a stable government which is capable of implementing reforms.  

"I'm extremely pleased because the focus is on improving the economy. As an inclusive government we have to focus on governance and economy which have been stagnant in the last few years," he added. 

He also said that the BN leaders would like to continue negotiation with other coalitions before coming to a final decision. 

"I'm very optimistic that we will be able to form a government, more transparent, more democratic," said Mr Anwar. 

When asked if corruption cases were part of negotiation, he stressed that it was not raised at all. 

BN chairman Mr Ahmad Zahid and some other BN leaders are facing trial for graft cases.

"There was no condition raised to remove corruption charges (as part of the discussion in forming of the new government). We stressed on inclusiveness and the economy. 

"The issue of corruption cases was not raised at all," added Mr Anwar. 

MIC’s M Saravanan arrives at the Seri Pacific Hotel. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

Members of parliament and leaders from PH and BN met at the Kuala Lumpur hotel on Monday morning, hours before the Palace announced that the deadline to submit the parties’ proof of support was extended to Tuesday.  

Other politicians who were spotted attending the talks included Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chief Mohamad Sabu, United Malays National Organisation(UMNO) deputy president Mohamad Hasan, UMNO vice president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, PH secretary general Saifuddin Nasution. 

Leaders of the other two BN’s component parties, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Wee Ka Siong and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) deputy president M Saravanan were also present. 

The two largest winning coalitions in Saturday’s general election, PH and Perikatan Nasional (PN) were racing against time to gather Statutory Declarations (SDs) from MPs of their respective component parties to be presented to the king. 

Results from the 15th general election (GE15) on Saturday show that PH and Perikatan Nasional (PN) are in pole position to form the next government, winning 81 and 73 seats respectively.

And although Barisan Nasional finished a distant third behind PH and PN, winning 30 parliamentary seats, they may prove to be kingmakers in helping either coalition cross the finish line. 

Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) managed to win 23 seats while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) won six seats.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Anthony Loke arrives at Seri Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

GPS chairman Abang Johari Openg has already thrown his support behind a PN government, saying that it is ready to partner PN, BN and GRS to form the next federal government. 

Barisan Nasional's participation will be key to both PH and PN. 

Before their talks with PH leaders, Ahmad Zahid flanked by 26 other BN MPs, told reporters that the coalition had not made any decision to sign SDs in support of any coalition or any individual as prime minister.

Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi speaks to the media during a press conference at Seri Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 21, 2022. (Photo: CNA/Fadza Ishak)

Before their talks with PH leaders, Ahmad Zahid flanked by 26 other BN MPs, told reporters that the coalition had not made any decision to sign SDs in support of any coalition or any individual as prime minister. 

"There has been no decision with anyone, especially the PN to form a government with them," said Ahmad Zahid. 

"Any parties or coalition who claim that BN has joined them to form the government are all untrue," he added. 

He also urged that MPs be given an extension to the 2pm deadline to submit their names to the Palace. 

Ahmad Zahid and the other BN MPs then exited the room and entered into another room where some PH MPs including Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy chief Rafizi Ramli were seen. 

On Sunday, in an interview aired by Astro Awani, Mr Anwar was asked if he had the numbers for a simple majority in the Lower House and which parties he was collaborating with.

He replied: "As I said last night (Saturday),it is done but I want it to be really proper and let them (political parties) issue their own statements 

"I am happy because we have virtually settled this. With a level of support, I am confident, God willing, I will be given the chance, the opportunity to lead this country," said the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president.

When asked which parties he was collaborating with, Mr Anwar would only say: "Let them come out with their own statements (on the matter). Probably in the short term.”

On Sunday night, PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin said that he will show statutory declarations from members of parliament as proof that the coalition has enough numbers and support to form the government.

In a statement on Monday, PN secretary-general Hamzah Zainudin said that the coalition has already submitted SDs of more than 112 MPs supporting Mr Muhyiddin as the next prime minister. 

This is despite claims by Ahmad Zahid  that BN had never discussed with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) about offering the party’s support to PN to form the government. 

Mr Muhyiddin, had earlier said that claims by Ahmad Zahid that BN had never discussed with Gabungan Parti Sarawak about offering the party’s support to PN in order to form the government, would not prevent the PN from forming the federal government with the support of MPs. 

"If any MP decides to support me based on the Federal Constitution to become the prime minister, that is the MP’s rights. The constitution says if anyone wishes to become the prime minister, he or she must receive the support of a majority of MPs, at least 112," Bernama quoted Mr Muhyiddin as telling reporters after chairing the Bersatu supreme council meeting.

He added that the Anti-Party Hopping Act does not prevent any party, even if not under the PN, to offer their support for me to become the prime minister.

"This is because they do not leave their party but offer their support as individuals and as MP. That is not wrong according to the Act," he said.

Source: CNA/am(ih)
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