Malaysia: Opposition leader set to form new government

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim

But Muhyiddin's position has remained precarious with a single digit majority in parliament, while UMNO withdrew some of its backing after former leader and former Prime Minister Najib Razak was found guilty of corruption in the multi-billion 1MDB scandal.

"In the meantime, any delay gives Muhyiddin the time to try and persuade those who may now have pledged their support to Anwar, to return to support Muhyiddin", said Khoo in reference to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Nevertheless, it remains uncertain if he would be able to form a government as he is yet to receive the nod from Malaysia's king.

And there is a risk that political upheavals could delay delivery of government support measures for an export-focused economy that has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tension over Mr Anwar's long-awaited claim to the premiership had partly contributed to the power struggle in February.

"The numbers are strong and convincing, not a small majority", he said, but did not state the number of MPs who he claimed are backing him. "I'm not talking about four, five, six (seats), I'm talking about much more than that", Anwar told reporters. "The government under the leadership of Muhyiddin Yassin has fallen".

"Although Anwar claims to have majority support, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong also has the discretionary power and this process will take time", he said.

The was no immediate reaction from Muhyiddin.

The King has announced he will grant Anwar an audience to show his numbers.

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The king has the authority to appoint a prime minister in Malaysia, if a candidate can prove he has enough support in parliament. Unless Muhyiddin has further doubled the national debt to buy off his defectors by that point, he will be forced to step down or accept a vote of confidence or call for the King to trigger an election.

Anwar said he had been granted an audience with the king on Tuesday but the meeting was postponed as the monarch is receiving treatment at a heart centre in Kuala Lumpur.

Analysts said elections were more likely to end the political uncertainty.

Mr Muhyiddin came to power in March after securing a parliamentary majority with the support of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), which was defeated in the 2018 election.

The opposition, including Anwar and Mahathir, had vowed to oust him, saying he won power by shifting alliances instead of earning it at the ballot box.

Anwar's statement is set to push Malaysia into another round of political turmoil after the country already underwent two shock government changes in recent years.

Then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned in protest, and Anwar said Wednesday that Mahathir won't be part of his new government.

Anwar and his supporters described all the charges brought against him as a plot to destroy his political career.

But the leader of the biggest party in Muhyiddin's coalition said he was aware that many lawmakers from his Malay party are backing Anwar as premier and that he can not stop them.

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