Anwar to quit as Opposition leader if he fails to prove majority?

Anwar Ibrahim. – Malaysia Dateline photo.

By John Isaac

PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim offered to resign as the opposition leader if he fails to prove he commands majority support in the Dewan Rakyat, four MPs from the coalition confirmed.

The MPs, who are from PKR and the DAP, told Malaysiakini this on condition of anonymity.

“It’s true, it’s true. (Anwar) told us on Thursday,” said one PKR MP.

He said this was communicated to Harapan MPs verbally after the bungled vote during the second reading of the Budget 2021 in Parliament.

The PKR MP added that Anwar wanted to focus on strengthening the party for the next general election if he failed to muster the numbers needed to retake the government.

“Anwar had said many times, if he can’t get it, he’ll focus on the election,” he said.

Anwar raised eyebrows after he told opposition MPs not to seek bloc voting during the budget vote, which would require the votes to be counted.

This would have revealed if Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin still commanded a majority in the House or whether they have shifted to Anwar as the latter had claimed in September.

Most of the Harapan MPs grudgingly complied with Anwar’s request but grilled him after the Dewan Rakyat sitting which saw Budget 2021 easily passing the second reading.

Following Anwar’s resignation promise which was conveyed verbally, a fake statement of Anwar promising to resign was circulating yesterday using the letterhead of Anwar’s office.

The MPs confirmed that even though the fake letter was never issued by Anwar’s office, its contents were true.

They said Anwar asked for a week’s time to prove his majority, failing which he will step down as the opposition leader.

Budget 2021 will be up for a third reading next week, where it will be voted on multiple times in the committee stage, as various items will go through ministry by ministry.

With Anwar putting his political future as Harapan chief on the line, the stakes will be high during the budget vote next week.

Publicly, Anwar said the move not to request for bloc voting was so the opposition won’t appear to be blanketly rejecting Budget 2021, which saw several additional aids allocated to the people.

Privately, several MPs told Malaysiakini that Anwar couldn’t muster sufficient support to defeat Budget 2021 during the second reading.

However, he still has time to muster the necessary support during the series of budget votes next week.

The budget vote is a proxy confidence vote for Muhyiddin and is Harapan’s only chance to oust the prime minister through the Dewan Rakyat as speaker Azhar Azizan Harun has refused to allow the tabling of no-confidence motions by the opposition.