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Anwar cries foul as Malaysian parties discuss sweeping coalition change

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Anwar cries foul as Malaysian parties discuss sweeping coalition change

By Joseph Sipalan and Rozanna Latiff



Malaysia's politician Anwar Ibrahim speaks during an interview with Reuters in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, February 6, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng


KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's would-be leader Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday accused 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's party and "traitors" in his own camp of plotting a wholesale change in the ruling coalition that could ultimately deny him the premiership.


After being promised that he would one day become prime minister, Anwar allied with former rival Mahathir to win a surprise victory in the 2018 general election and end the six-decade grip of a party accused of widespread corruption.


But on Sunday politicians from the coalition held talks at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur on a possible new alliance with members of the ousted former ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), political sources said.


"We know there are attempts to bring down PH and form a new government," Anwar said, referring to the Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition that he helped form under Mahathir, who leads the Bersatu party.


Anwar said of the alleged plotters that: "It involves our former friends in Bersatu and a small faction of traitors from PKR."


Anwar's PKR party is the biggest constituent of the current alliance, but it is beset by internal divisions. Meanwhile, Mahathir has said in recent months that he needs more time for a planned transition for which he has never set a date.


Forming a new coalition could allow Mahathir to serve out a full term instead of handing over to Anwar as promised.


One source with knowledge of the matter said Mahathir had been angry that he came under pressure from pro-Anwar ministers to set a clear timetable for a handover at a meeting of the coalition on Friday.


Mahathir's own Bersatu party held a special meeting earlier on Sunday. Neither he nor the party commented on what had been discussed.


Some Malaysians expressed their anger on social media over the speculation of a new alliance, saying the coalition they voted for to bring in reforms now threatened to betray them by partnering with the political parties they voted out.


Anwar had served as deputy prime minister and finance minister during Mahathir's first 22-year stint in office under UNMO, but was sacked in 1998 after falling out over how to defend the economy against the Asian Financial Crisis.


Anwar was jailed twice on sodomy charges that he said were politically motivated. He was released on a royal pardon after the 2018 election.


He is a member of parliament but does not hold a ministerial post. His wife is the country's deputy prime minister.


(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan and Rozanna Latiff; Editing by Krishna Das, Matthew Tostevin and Alex Richardson)



-- © Copyright Reuters 2020-02-24

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Sleeping with the enemy comes to mind.

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The plot thickens, with MM submitting his resignation. A ploy which he may not need to follow through on



How Anwar ever believed that MM would simply step aside and allow his arch enemy to take control over 'his' country really shows up his extreme naivety. MM has a long memory and will vividly recall the time when he gave Anwar temporary control back in the 90's whilst he went on a lengthy trip to Canada. Anwar jumped the gun by installing Team Anwar as replacements for MM stalwarts. The rest is history.


MM's gripe over UMNO was the rejection of his family members from positions of power and thus depriving him of establishing a lineage similar to the Razaks. His departure from the UMNO fold had nothing to do with overt corruption but everything to do with his family being frozen out of the corridors of power. It was laughable that someone  with his corruption track record could be seen as a new broom. Even more so by Anwar who was at the top table during the 90's and was well aware of the excesses of that period.  Indeed he participated, perhaps not at a personal level, but definitely in ways that ensured the party wheels were well oiled, ensuring election success and keep the gravy train going for the senior party faithful.


Given that MM is 94, he fully realises his time is short. He rarely misjudges when it comes to Malaysian politics. I would expect that he has all his ducks in a row to ensure  success no matter what Anwar says or attempts to do.   


A leopard...........    


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