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Mahathir meeting leaders of other parties about new coalition: Report

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Dr Mahathir has met with top leaders of several parties to decide on forming a new coalition, sources say

KUALA LUMPUR: Speculation is rife that Malaysia's ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) might be replaced by another.

Malaysian newspaper The Star quoted a source who said Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad met top leaders of several parties to decide if forming a new coalition will be the right thing to do.

Sources said Dr Mahathir had asked Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali as well as leaders of Parti Warisan Sabah, Umno, Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) and Gabungan Parti Sarawak to meet him.

"Dr Mahathir has met with all Bersatu leaders to decide whether it is wise for Bersatu to leave the ruling PH coalition," the source said

Meanwhile, the decisions made at the special Bersatu meeting were conveyed to Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) MPs who were meeting at another hotel, The Star reported.

PKR is a major component party in the ruling coalition. Its president, Mr Anwar Ibrahim, and deputy president Azmin Ali are embroiled in a political spat.

Mr Azmin and his supporters have formed another faction. These were the MPs who were meeting at the hotel.

"Now, Dr Mahathir wants to hear from those who said they have the majority of MPs, and whether it is a viable thing to do at this time.

"Nothing is concrete until Dr Mahathir is convinced it is viable to break up Pakatan," said the source.


Bersatu supreme council member Redzuan Yusof let slip to Malaysia's Berita Harian that they did talk about leaving the coalition.

"There was some discussion (about the suggestion for Bersatu to leave PH), but we must follow the consensus," he was quoted as saying.

He did not explain whose consensus needed to be followed in the matter, the Malay Mail reported.

Dr Mahathir's aide said the Prime Minister was not scheduled to issue an announcement yesterday night.

Mr Anwar confirmed there were attempts to shake up the PH government by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and a faction from PKR.

"We are waiting for further information, but there were attempts to bring down the Pakatan government involving our former friend Bersatu and a small fraction from PKR who has betrayed us," he said.

Earlier, five party presidents and one deputy president were granted an audience with Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, at Istana Negara, The Star reported.

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin, PKR's Mr Azmin, Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang were said to be among those who were meeting the King, The Star reported.

It is believed the party leaders were to brief him on the latest political development.

Soon after the visit, most of the party leaders including those from opposition parties headed to a dinner at the Sheraton PJ.

As of press time, it was unclear if there would be any announcement following the dinner, which was attended by more than 100 MPs from both the ruling coalition and the opposition.

On Friday, Dr Mahathir said the Pakatan presidential council has given him the full discretion as to when to step down as prime minister. He had repeatedly said he would step down after Malaysia hosted the Apec Summit in November.

Prior to the 14th General Election, Pakatan had agreed that Dr Mahathir would be in charge for two years before passing the baton to Mr Anwar.