Pressure mounts on Anwar as BN MPs back Azmin’s call for Dr M to stay

(FMT) – Six Barisan Nasional MPs today issued a joint statement in support of Dr Mahathir Mohamad serving the full five-year term as prime minister, in what appears to be a consolidation of political forces against Anwar Ibrahim.

The MPs, Mohd Shahran Abdullah (Paya Besar), Mastura Mohd Yazid (Kuala Kangsar), Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut), Adham Baba (Tenggara), Ismail Abdul Muttalib (Maran) and Abdul Rahman Mohamad (Lipis) said they back the call by PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali on Tuesday for Mahathir to remain in the top post.

Azmin, the economic affairs minister, had said that any mid-term power transition could affect business confidence in Malaysia.

“Foreign and local investors are concerned with the current policies in Malaysia, and a transition of power will not benefit the country,” Shahran told a press conference at the Parliament today.

“It does not make sense for a power transition to happen in two years, since it is already the people’s mandate for them to rule.”

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi distanced himself from the six MPs, saying their view was not the party’s official stance.

“Umno’s official stance is that we respect the current leadership and government,” Zahid told reporters.

He also dismissed rumours of a backdoor government formed by Azmin and former defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, saying this was only speculation.

“An official government is formed through an election, based on a democratic system. I don’t think this speculation will become a reality.”

Mahathir, who returned to the top post following Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) victory in the 2018 general election, has repeatedly stated that he will keep his word to step down after about two years.

Earlier this month, Anwar said PH leaders had agreed that the date would not be stated in public as it could undermine the current prime minister.