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Palace postpones meetings with allies of Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim

Palace postpones meetings with allies of Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Oct 13, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's national palace has postponed audiences with the king for allies of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, senior opposition leaders said on Wednesday (Oct 14), amid a fresh tussle for the country's premiership.

Anwar had on Tuesday met with King Al-Sultan Abdullah to prove that he has a "convincing" parliamentary majority to form a new government, sparking a fresh bout of political wrangling just months after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin rose to the post.

READ: Malaysia opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim leaves Istana Negara after audience with king

READ: Anwar did not present list of MPs backing him: Istana Negara

In a statement, the top leaders of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Amanah said they had initially been summoned for separate audiences with the king.

"However, last night His Majesty's senior private secretary informed us that both sessions with His Majesty have been postponed," read the statement, signed off by DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and Amanah President Mohamad Sabu.

A senior palace official said all of the king's appointments have been postponed due to a two-week partial lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor, which took effect on Wednesday.

New dates will be decided after the curbs are lifted, palace comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin added.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Anwar said he had presented documents to the king to prove he had the support of over 120 lawmakers in the 222-seat parliament.

But the palace later said in a statement that Anwar had submitted the number of lawmakers that he said supported him, but not the identities of his supporters.

READ: Malaysia king to study documents and consult party leaders, says Anwar amid bid to form new government

READ: Leave it to the best judgment of the king, says PM Muhyiddin on Anwar’s bid to seize power

The king plays a largely ceremonial role but he can appoint a prime minister who in his view is likely to command a majority. New governments are usually elected in Malaysia but the king plays a role in certain instances.

Earlier this year, at the height of political wrangling that saw to the collapse of the administration of Mahathir Mohamad, the king appointed Muhyiddin as premier after meeting every member of parliament to learn who they support.

Critics say Muhyiddin, who has survived on a two-seat parliamentary majority, had stolen power by shifting alliances instead of earning it at the ballot box.

Source: Reuters/ga


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