By John Isaac
A TOTAL 114 MPs have been summoned to Istana Negara today, in what Umno secretary-general Ahmad Maslan describes as a sign that Bera MP Ismail Sabri Yaakob has garnered sufficient support to form a new government.
According to a schedule sighted by Malaysiakini, the MPs will be arriving throughout the day in five batches starting at 10am.
They comprise MPs from Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Bersatu, Umno, MCA, MIC, PAS, and several other parties and independent MPs.
Notably absent is Umno’s Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Based on the schedule, the composition of the MPs invited to the palace tomorrow are:
Umno × 37
Bersatu × 31
PAS × 18
GPS-PBB × 13
GPS-PRS × 2
GPS-PDP × 2
MCA × 2
GPS-SUPP × 1
MIC × 1
PBRS × 1
PBS × 1
Star × 1
Independent × 4
Several MPs have confirmed the details of the list to be correct and they will be attending the session at their scheduled time.
Malaysiakini understands the audience with the king is to verify the MPs’ stance.
For the record, there are 220 seats currently occupied in the Dewan Rakyat, meaning the support of at least 111 MPs is needed to form a new government.
Meanwhile, in a message to fellow BN elected representatives, Ahmad claims this to be a sign that Ismail Sabri has won sufficient support.
“Only the winning group would be invited to confirm their support at Istana Negara, meaning that, God willing, Ismail Sabri is the winning candidate for prime minister.
“This is of course the result of the cooperation led by the Umno president and deputy president, (Pekan MP) Najib Abdul Razak, supreme council members, and all our MPs,” he said.
Likewise, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said in a text message, “Praise be to Allah that Ismail Sabri is being elevated as the ninth prime minister based on Istana Negara’s invitations to all MPs who nominated him.”
On the other hand, when asked whether PKR has received a similar invitation, the party’s communications director Fahmi Fadzil told Malaysiakini he has no information on the matter.
A DAP source likewise said he has no information.
The invitation from the palace comes following the 4pm deadline today for MPs to name who they support to be the next prime minister.
BN and its allies are backing Ismail Sabri for the post, while opposition MPs are supporting PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
However, GPS had been vague with their public statements regarding whom they are backing for prime minister, but claims Pakatan Harapan did not reach out to the coalition to seek support.
The Conference of Rulers is expected to hold a special meeting on Friday to discuss the MPs’ choice of prime minister.
Whoever is appointed to the premiership, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has decreed that the new prime minister must seek a vote of confidence as soon as possible to determine his legitimacy.
The king has also told political party leaders that, to ensure harmony, the MPs who win must reach out to those who did not.
“Everyone should be working as a team. In other words, the winner does not win everything while the loser does not lose everything,” said Comptroller of the Royal Household Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin in a statement earlier. – Malaysiakini