UMNO to nominate Ismail Sabri as Malaysian PM candidate as lawmakers are due to declare their choice today
Meanwhile, Mr Anwar Ibrahim is the opposition bloc's candidate, according to local media.
KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is set to nominate Mr Ismail Sabri Yaakob as their prime minister candidate following a supreme council meeting on Tuesday night (Aug 17).
The party's secretary-general Ahmad Maslan tweeted after the meeting: "Only one name will be nominated as prime minister candidate by MPs in UMNO / BN (Barisan Nasional), and that is Ismail Sabri".
He added this was a collective decision by UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, BN adviser and former prime minister Najib Razak as well as other UMNO supreme council members.
Mr Ismail Sabri served as deputy prime minister in Mr Muhyiddin Yassin's Cabinet which resigned on Monday. The Bera MP was also defence minister.
The decision to nominate Mr Ismail Sabri was also confirmed by Pasir Salak MP Tajuddin Abdul Rahman when he spoke to reporters after leaving the UMNO supreme council meeting.
"I am happy because UMNO and Barisan Nasional are united and we agree on one candidate, one name," said Mr Tajuddin.
He added that this decision will be backed by the party's partners in the Perikatan Nasional coalition, including Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).
"We have crossed the numbers required (to clinch majority support)," claimed Mr Tajuddin.
PAS, BERSATU CONFIRM SUPPORT FOR ISMAIL SABRI
On Wednesday afternoon, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man told reporters that all 18 of the party's federal lawmakers have signed statutory declarations in full support of Mr Ismail Sabri as prime minister candidate.
"We support (Ismail Sabri) fully," says Mr Tuan Ibrahim.
Meanwhile, a report by Malaysiakini stated that Bersatu's 35 MPs have been instructed by the party's president, Mr Muhyiddin, to also back Mr Ismail Sabri as the next prime minister.
Bersatu supreme council member Eddin Syazlee Shith, who is MP for Kuala Pilah, reportedly said that the party leadership had previously resolved that Mr Muhyiddin would decide on the choice of prime minister on behalf of the party MPs.
Following Mr Muhyiddin's resignation on Monday, all MPs were asked to submit a declaration letter to the national palace to state an individual they support to be the next prime minister by 4pm on Wednesday.
The prime minister candidates need to convince the ruler that they likely command majority support of the Lower House, which currently has 220 MPs and two vacant seats.
A special meeting of the Malay rulers will be convened on Friday, likely to discuss the appointment of the next prime minister.
ANWAR IS OPPOSITION'S PM CANDIDATE
Meanwhile, local media reported that Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim is the opposition bloc's candidate for the prime minister's post.
Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan) president Mohd Shafie Apdal was quoted as saying by the Star that Mr Anwar is the opposition's candidate, adding that he would be deputy.
PH, which comprises PKR, the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah), has 88 MPs. Warisan, meanwhile, has eight MPs.
The Malay Mail, quoting sources privy to the negotiations, reported that Mr Anwar currently has 105 federal lawmakers on his side.
The report added that Mr Anwar was backed by Warisan as well as other opposition parties and independent candidates. However, he was still short of the simple majority of 111 MPs required to form a new government.
On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Anwar said Malaysian political parties have reached a consensus to stop old politics adding that King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has called for the party leaders to move towards “new politics” that bring peace and harmony for the people.
He was speaking to reporters after meeting with the king alongside all political party leaders.
On Monday, Mr Muhyiddin was appointed caretaker prime minister after his resignation was accepted by the king.
The palace said that for the people's safety, calling for a general election during the COVID-19 pandemic was not the best option.