Well, it’s another exciting day in the ever-changing landscape of Malaysian politics! Word from unnamed sources leaked today that the 10 PKR MPs whose abrupt split with their party precipitated a political quasi-crisis, along with their de facto leader Azmin Ali, are set to join the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
The purported defection — if it indeed goes through — will bring Bersatu’s numbers from 26 to 37, just four fewer than Barisan Nasional’s (BN) 41 representatives in the Dewan Rakyat.
“All of the 11 in Azmin’s bloc except for one are bumiputra [a term for native Malays]. There won’t be any problem being accepted” into the stridently pro-Malay PPBM, the source told The Star. “That one non-bumiputra MP will be joining Bersatu as an associate member.”
“In fact, Dr. Mahathir has offered them membership before, but they were hesitant as they were thinking of their non-Malay voters. This is a temporary measure until things settle.”
Currently, the 11 are meeting with the Agong, Malaysia’s rotating monarch, at Istana Negara to discuss matters of Parliament going forward. Earlier today, members of PKR made a spectacular entrance at the National Palace cheering to onlookers from the roof of a double-decker bus. Members of DAP made their own visit later in the day.
10 buah kenderaan termasuk sebuah bas dua tingkat dipercayai membawa Ahli Parlimen PKR dilihat memasuki Istana Negara melalui pintu 2 pada pukul 10.40 pagi. pic.twitter.com/c4qWrRvrWO
— BERNAMA (@bernamadotcom) February 26, 2020
Malaysia’s king has been meeting with every MP over the last two days to get their input on the collapse of the ruling coalition, and how they see things working going forward. The Agong is the only one who can officially dissolve Parliament on the advice of the PM.
The Agong isn’t the only one seeking clarity on how things are going to shake out — it’s been a hectic few days, after all. On Sunday, Malaysian media was abuzz with news of rumors that one of the ruling coalition’s most senior PKR members was leaving the party.
On Monday, it came to light that not only was PKR set to see some high-level defections, but that there was going to be an even higher-level shake-up: Prime Minister Mahathir was resigning from his post, and as chairman of his Bersatu party.
Almost immediately, Bersatu, the party that the nonagenarian had recently founded, announced it would be leaving the unlikely ruling coalition Mahathir had managed to cobble together after coming to power in 2018, causing the current government to fall apart, and setting off furious speculation as to who would wind up on top of the ensuing scrum.
But that wasn’t the last of the head-spinning developments: despite accepting his resignation, the Agong turned around and named none other than… Mahathir as interim prime minister while the whole thing is sorted out.
And Mahathir’s former party, Bersatu has also thrown their support behind the nonagenarian.
Stay tuned, y’all! Because this whole thing is far from settled.