Ex-PM Najib Razak looks to Anwar Ibrahim amid shaky support for current govt

Najib Razak at his home in January, at left, and Anwar Ibrahim at Le Meridien, at right. Photos: Najib Razak, Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook
Najib Razak at his home in January, at left, and Anwar Ibrahim at Le Meridien, at right. Photos: Najib Razak, Anwar Ibrahim/Facebook

Former prime minister Najib Razak said yesterday he had tried to persuade his political party to look to Anwar Ibrahim’s leadership amid wavering support for the National Alliance (PN) administration currently led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Najib, 67, seemed hopeful for Anwar’s leadership, according to a Facebook post he published after attending a meeting with his party, the United Malays National Organisation, or UMNO. But he said that he would only support Anwar if the Democratic Action Party was not in the picture.

“I said to UMNO that we should be open to working with other political parties including Anwar’s (People’s Justice Party) if we are still unhappy with the PN government,” he wrote online, hours after the party’s supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre concluded. 

“I have emphasized that working with Anwar should not include the Democratic Action Party,” he added. The Democratic Action Party is led by Lim Guan Eng, who faced graft charges soon after Muhyiddin took over Malaysia’s government earlier this year. Lim was the finance minister during Mahathir Mohamad’s Pakatan Harapan government, which replaced Najib’s administration after the 2018 elections.

It is still not clear what exactly UMNO was not happy about with Muhyiddin’s government, weeks after it announced that it was reconsidering its terms and conditions under the PN coalition. Najib also wrote yesterday that PN had a razor-thin majority of just 113 out of 222 members of parliament.

Muhyiddin Yassin in Parliament earlier. Photo: Muhyiddin Yassin /Facebook
Muhyiddin Yassin in Parliament. Photo: Muhyiddin Yassin /Facebook

“I believe that another election would be the best option for the country right now because PN’s razor-thin majority is the main reason for the country’s political instability,” he wrote, adding that he disagreed with Muhyiddin push to declare a state of emergency, calling it a  “bid to remain in power.”

Najib is the titular character of the 1MDB scandal involving the RM42 billion (US$10 billion) looting of state funds and is currently under trial. 

UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was not at yesterday’s meeting, according to reports, saying that he was apparently ill.

Other stories to check out:

Malaysia extends lockdown in KL, Selangor, Putrajaya for another two weeks

Malaysia PM chairs cabinet meeting after King rejects bid to declare emergency

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