Opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim speaks beside his wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on October 13, 2020. (Photo by AFP)
Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim has met with the king and claimed to have presented the monarch with documents showing that he has "strong and convincing" parliamentary support to oust Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and take his position.
"I urge all parties to give space to the king to carry out his responsibilities under the constitution, and to go through the documents and call party leaders to confirm and receive their input and views," Anwar told reporters following the Tuesday morning meeting.
He said he had secured the support of over 120 of the 222 legislators in Malaysiaís parliament.
Anwar further said that he was disclosing the number for the first time since his announcement last month that he had the backing of a majority of federal lawmakers to form a new government.
Anwar said it was now up to the king to decide on the next step while noting that Muhyiddin had lost his majority and had to resign.
However, King Sultan Abdullahís palace declared later in the day that Anwar had not provided the identities of the legislators whom he said backed his bid to form a new government.
"Anwar has submitted the alleged number of members of the House of Representatives who support him. However, he did not submit a list of names of members of the House of Representatives to strengthen the allegation," said a statement issued by the palace after the kingís meeting with the opposition figure.
According to the statement, the king further advised Anwar to abide by and respect the legal processes in the constitution, suggesting the king was not convinced by Anwarís claim of legislative support.
The king plays a largely ceremonial role in the Southeast Asian country, though he can appoint a prime minister whom he views as likely to command a majority. The king can also dissolve the parliament and trigger elections on the prime ministerís advice.
Malaysia has been in political turmoil since the reformist government of Mahathir Mohamad - which included Anwar - collapsed in February amid bitter infighting. At the time, the king appointed Muhyiddin as the prime minister, saying he believed Muhyiddin enjoyed the backing of the majority of lawmakers.
Muhyiddin, whose seven-month administration has survived on a tiny parliamentary majority, had earlier rejected Anwarís claims as a "mere allegation" and told him to prove his majority through a constitutional process.
Skepticism remains strong toward Anwarís bid to become prime minister since no major party has offered a clear declaration of support for him. One party, which is a member of the ruling coalition, has said some of its lawmakers favor Anwar.
If Anwar overcomes the hurdles in his bid to become Malaysiaís next prime minister, it would mark the culmination of his 22-year quest, including nearly 10 years in jail on sodomy charges he has denied.
Local observers believe a change of government and general elections are unlikely in the near future since populous Malaysia is struggling to overcome a surge in coronavirus infections.