UPDATES WITH STATEMENT OF MUHYIDDIN YASSIN, CHANGES HEADER
ISTANBUL (AA) – After the Malaysian king asked political parties on Tuesday to form a "strong" government, former Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said his alliance does not support the idea of a "unity government."
“We have discussed the matter earlier, we will not cooperate with Pakatan Harapan (PH), that is our party’s position, from then until now. We did not agree (on working with PH),” Yassin told reporters outside his residence following a meeting with King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah in Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia held its 15th general election over the weekend, resulting in a hung parliament, with Alliance of Hope, or Pakatan Harapan (PH), led by Anwar Ibrahim, secured most seats in the parliament but short of forming a government of its own.
Yassin-led National Alliance, or Perikatan Nasional (PN) has secured the support of 73 lawmakers including 22 from the Islamic Party of Malaysia, or Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS).
Malaysia has a hung parliament for the first time in its 59-year history following the Nov. 19 general elections.
Earlier, Ibrahim, 75, after meeting with the king, told media outside the palace that the monarch “desired to form a strong government that is more inclusive in terms of race, religion or region that would allow the government to focus on resolving problems… and resuscitate our economy.”
Ibrahim and Yassin were summoned to the palace for an audience with the king, who, according to the Malaysian constitution, has final decision-making authority over the establishment of the new administration.
Yassin, however, left the palace without speaking to reporters.
When asked if there was any timeline to form the government, Ibrahim responded in negatively.
“There is no question for forming a minority government, nor is there is any timeline to form the government. We will seek honorable king’s advice and accept the decision,” he said, adding that parties will wait for the final decision “which is of course discretion of the king.”
“There is no decision on (who will the prime minister) … it is open for application,” he added.
A party or coalition needs the support of at least 112 lawmakers to form the government.
Yassin, however, claimed that he “presented 115 statutory declarations (SD) in support of him” to the king’s secretary.
“But when I had the audience [with the king] earlier, someone said that this is not enough, I don’t know what the reasons are behind that,” he said, according to the Malay Mail news website.
“After that, because it was said that we don’t have enough numbers, Agong (king) suggested that we cooperate with PH to form a unity government,” said Yassin.
“We have all agreed that for some reason we can’t be with PH, it’s common knowledge,” he added.
The king has invited 30 members of the National Front, or Barisan Nasional (BN) on Wednesday morning.
Earlier, the king had asked the major alliances to come up with numbers by 2 p.m. (0600GMT) on Tuesday, after giving them a day’s extension since the election results were announced.
“So far, BN has agreed to remain as the opposition," BN leader and former Prime Minister Ismail Sabri said earlier today.
Support of the BN lawmakers is expected to decide who is elected as the 10th prime minister of Malaysia to lead the new government.
Besides, Sarawak Parties Alliance, or Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) with 23 seats had indicated it may also support a coalition of the PN and BN with Yassin as premier but there is no final decision yet.