After palace meet, eyes turn to multi-party dinner with Azmin’s camp

Political leaders of Malay-based parties have been gathering at a hotel in Petaling Jaya amidst speculation of a new political coalition being formed.

PETALING JAYA: Attention has turned to a gathering of political leaders here after the prime minister’s office dampened feverish political speculation by saying that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not expected to hold a press conference tonight.

A source at the PMO said the prime minister had not gone to Istana Negara to seek an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, as widely speculated earlier today, and said there would be no press conference.

However, political leaders from Umno, PAS, PPBM and PKR were seen gathering at the Sheraton hotel, the venue where Pakatan Harapan announced its historic election victory in 2018.

PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and his supporters had been gathering at the hotel earlier in the day, and have said a dinner would be held with political leaders across the spectrum. Only MPs were invited.

The political movements all day strengthened speculation about the fall of the Pakatan Harapan coalition comprising DAP, PKR, PPBM and Amanah and the formation of a new coalition around PPBM, Umno, PAS and some from PKR. The new coalition had been speculatively named “Pakatan Nasional”.

PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin, PPBM Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, and fellow party colleagues Redzuan Md Yusoff, Marzuki Yahya, Faizal Azumu and Zahid Mat Arip were among those present.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi were also at the dinner.

Others who entered separately included parliamentary opposition leader and Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Umno secretary-general Annuar Musa, PAS deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man and Barisan Nasional secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor.

Mahathir was reported to have returned to his home in Seri Kembangan after a meeting with members of his PPBM party. He had been expected to attend the dinner at the Sheraton, but a source at the PM’s Office said he would not be there.

The various political movements, including the sight of about 30 VIP vehicles entering Istana Negara had strengthened speculation that a change of federal government would be taking place, with MPs from PPBM, Umno, and PAS and some from PKR.

Supporters of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim were gathered at his home in Segambut for a prayer session, where he was urged by the mufti of Penang to remain steadfast.