KUALA LUMPUR: There is a hive of activity currently at Istana Negara as Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is set to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on Tuesday (Oct 13), amid an impending lockdown to stem Covid-19 that begins at 12:01am on Wednesday (Oct 14).
Scores of media personnel gathered outside Gate 2 of Istana Negara as early as 8am, while some had even scouted Anwar’s private residences in Segambut to monitor the PKR president’s movements.
The entrance of Gate 2 of the Palace was tightly guarded with uniformed policemen carrying assault rifles, as they instructed media personnel not to stand too close to the gates.
The timing of Anwar’s audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah was just as tightly guarded a secret, as his aides and officers would not release any details when approached.
However, several party sources have told The Star that Anwar’s audience with the King was scheduled to be some time around 11am.
At around 10am, Anwar tweeted of a photo of himself in formal attire, wearing a blue suit and red tie together with his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
"Hope everything goes well today," he said, in a one-line post without explaining further.
At 10.20am, Palace officials gave packs of fast food to the gathered press.
At 10.30am, a convoy of black cars were seen entering the palace grounds via the back gate, but it could not be confirmed if Anwar was in one of the vehicles.
On Sept 23, merely three days before the Sabah state elections, Anwar dropped a bombshell at a press conference where he claimed to have a “strong, formidable and convincing” majority to form the next government.
He also declared that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government had collapsed.
On that same day, Sultan Abdullah was admitted to undergo treatment at the National Heart Institute (IJN) in Kuala Lumpur.
A statement by the Palace later said an audience was granted to Anwar and his wife, former deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, on Sept 22 but it was cancelled due to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s health.
On Oct 2, Sultan Abdullah returned to Istana Negara after receiving treatment for food poisoning and a sports injury.
In February, Sultan Abdullah was confronted by a week-long political crisis stemming from what has been labelled the “Sheraton Move”, which triggered the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government and the resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister.
At that time, the King interviewed all 222 MPs before declaring that Muhyiddin had the support of the majority, and was rightful prime minister after the Perikatan Nasional coalition, consisting of Barisan, Part Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), GPS, and other parties, was formed.
Currently, speculation is rife that Anwar possesses more than 120 statutory declarations (SDs) in support of his bid to be the next premier.
Multiple PKR sources have also denied any knowledge of the numbers in support of Anwar as premier, saying that their president has kept his “cards close to his chest”.
Other party sources have also said they were instructed not to speak to the media regarding the matter.
However, critics are disputing that Anwar has adequate support to be premier, as PAS, Barisan Nasional, Parti Bersatu Sabah and even Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new party Pejuang have come out to declare that all of their MPs will abstain from supporting Anwar as prime minister.
The Perikatan government is currently ruling with only a two-seat majority with 113 out of the 222 MPs.
Pakatan Harapan Plus, on the other hand, has 108 MPs following the death of Parti Warisan Sabah Batu Sapi MP Datuk Liew Vui Keong, the former law minister.