Many MPs asked to sign SD to back elder statesman

  • Nation
  • Friday, 14 Feb 2020

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is tabling Budget 2020 in the Dewan Rakyat at Parliament Building, Kuala Lumpur. FAIHAN GHANI/The Star.

PETALING JAYA: The unprecedented move to ensure Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad remains as prime minister beyond 2020 has intensified after many MPs were asked to show their support for the elder statesman.

MPs aligned to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, Umno, PAS and PKR are said to have been “pressured by their own leaders to round up their respective network of MPs” to sign the SD in support of Dr Mahathir to stay on as prime minister until GE15, a news portal reported.

It is understood that several MPs considered as “fence sitters” over the issue were approached to sign the statutory declaration, while others, who are openly supporting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take over as premier in November, were ignored.

However, a source within Pakatan Harapan said there was nothing new regarding the efforts to ensure Dr Mahathir remains as premier beyond the two-year period as agreed prior to GE14.

“(PAS president) Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang already declared in 2018 that he will support Dr Mahathir.

“Since Abdul Hadi’s declaration, Dr Mahathir’s boys then began to do the groundwork to get support, ” the source said.

At the same time, the source claimed that there was an attempt to paint Dr Mahathir as an enemy of Pakatan supporters because the 94-year-old prime minister is set to make an important announcement sometime next week.

“Whatever that’s set to be announced by Dr Mahathir is going to affect the coming Pakatan presidential council meeting, ” said the source.

Meanwhile, another source aligned to Anwar said he has knowledge of PKR MPs who were approached to sign the SD.

“I wasn’t approached, but I know people who were approached within PKR.

“So, it’s up to Pakatan leaders to decide what’s next, ” he said.

Another source familiar with Sabah and Sarawak’s political affairs, however, cast doubt that the SD would gain enough signatures there.

According to the source, state Bersatu MPs would support Dr Mahathir to remain as full term, but Opposition leaders are not interested, arguing that the move will also show support for PAS.

“They don’t want to be in a coalition with PAS. They are not keen for short-term rewards, ” the source said.

He claimed that Sarawak MPs are caught in a quandary, as they are not keen to support the current Pakatan government led by Dr Mahathir, as well as the Anwar faction, which is openly supportive of DAP.

“They don’t want Anwar because they are fighting DAP. They don’t like DAP’s style of doing things, ” he said.

Any move by Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) to support Dr Mahathir could undermine the outcome of the coming state elections, which is believed to be held in the middle of this year, said the source.

“For GPS, they want to protect their crown jewel, which is the Sarawak state government.

“They want to win the state elections and they are not bothered at all about this, ” the source said.

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