Azmin, 10 MPs to join PPBM amid signs of about-turn by PKR over support for Dr M

Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin were sacked on Monday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The group of 11 PKR MPs who left the party this week following the sacking of deputy president Azmin Ali are set to join PPBM, in what could boost the support for Dr Mahathir Mohamad amid signs of Pakatan Harapan MPs switching loyalties to Anwar Ibrahim.

“All except one of them fulfill the conditions for PPBM membership,” said a source, confirming the entry of the 11 who formed an independent bloc after quitting PKR.

PPBM’s membership is open to all Bumiputeras.

Apart from Azmin, the 10 others are Zuraida Kamaruddin, Saifuddin Abdullah, Baru Bian, Kamarudin Jaffar, Mansor Othman, Rashid Hasnon, Ali Biju, Willie Mongin and Jonathan Yasin.

It is believed that another MP, Santhara Kumar, will become an associate member.

FMT has also learnt that Anwar and PKR MPs are intent on proposing his name for prime minister during their audience with the Agong. This has since been confirmed by PKR’s Wangsa Maju MP Tan Yee Kew.

Policemen guard outside the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur, the focus of attention as Malaysians await a new government.

This was despite PKR and DAP publicly stating support for Mahathir to lead a revived ruling coalition following PH’s collapse this week.

This also comes as sources believe Mahathir is torn between “choosing the same group of people who called for his resignation” and a new bloc whose conditional support for him has pushed him to a hard place.

“After meetings with political leaders yesterday, it was crystal clear that Tun (Mahathir) had the majority support to become the PM again. There are signs this could not be the case when some PKR MPs state their preference to the Agong today,” the source told FMT on condition of strict anonymity.

“He is between a rock and a hard place, the hard place being the condition set by Umno leaders,” said a source who has been privy to private conversations among top politicians.

One bloc is represented by PKR, DAP and Amanah, the remaining three members of the PH coalition, which is largely made up of MPs who eventually want PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to take over as prime minister.

The other bloc is made up of everyone else, mainly those who don’t want DAP to be part of a future federal government.

The remaining three PH parties yesterday held a meeting last night to come to an agreement on a new government, ahead of their audience with the Agong at Istana Negara today.

PPBM now has 26 MPs. Its president Muhyiddin Yassin said all of them have named Mahathir as their preferred choice for prime minister under a new coalition.

Sarawak’s ruling coalition Gabungan Parti Sarawak has also thrown their support behind the veteran leader.

Yesterday, Barisan Nasional and its ally PAS said they too wanted Mahathir to lead a new government, on the condition that DAP would be excluded.

BN and PAS also said Mahathir should accept all of them en bloc.

A source told FMT that it is this demand that has complicated matters.

“Mahathir surely does not want to take in some characters from Umno, especially those facing corruption charges,” it added.

Former prime minister and Pekan MP Najib Razak, his former Cabinet colleagues Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor and Ahmad Maslan, as well as Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Kinabatangan MP Bung Mokhtar Radin are facing charges for corruption and money laundering.

The source further told FMT that Mahathir had yesterday met with two factions from Umno.

“One faction does not want Anwar as prime minister while the other does not want DAP to be part of the federal coalition,” it said.