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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, Aug 18: All 17 Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs have met at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Complex today to sign individual statutory declarations (SD) to officially name their candidate for the post of the country’s prime minister.
Apart from signing the SDs, a meeting was also held for the 17 MPs to meet the top leaders of GPS as they discussed the prime minister candidacy issue.
The only absentee was Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, who has already flown to Kuala Lumpur.
According to a reliable source, GPS has made the decision and it was an en bloc resolution to be followed through by all GPS 18 parliamentarians from its four component parties namely Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP).
GPS chairman Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg when met by the media after the meeting had refused to disclose who was GPS’ choice for the position of prime minister, but had indicated that the SDs will be submitted to the King.
“It is just a nomination as required by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be sent to Istana Negara.
“I cannot tell you (the name of the candidate). I cannot go against the Agong (to keep this confidential),” he told reporters outside the DUN Complex today.
On the question of whether opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had reached out to GPS for the coalition’s support, Abang Johari simply answered with a “no”.
Meanwhile, GPS chief whip Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof when pressed by the media, also declined to confirm if their choice candidate was Umno Vice President Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The Petra Jaya MP just said decision had already been made and GPS will leave the final decision to the King.
“Today’s is only about PM (prime minister candidacy). CM (the chief minister) already said he will not intervene, but will let the King decide,” said Fadillah.
The SDs will have to be submitted to the Royal Palace by 4pm today, per request of the King who will make decision of who to appoint as the next prime minister, based on the written submissions of 220 MPs.
In terms of GPS choice of prime minister candidacy, based on statements of GPS secretary general Datuk Seri Alexander Nanta Linggi and Santubong MP Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, speculation has been rife that GPS will be lending their support to Ismail Sabri.
Meanwhile, the monarch faces the daunting task of appointing a new government with no leader able to present a clear majority so far.
It was reported that the King has called for a meeting with the country’s nine State Malay Rulers on Friday (Aug 20) to discuss the nominations for the next prime minister and possibly resolving the month-long political crisis that has left the nation without a prime minister for the second time in 18 months.
According to sources with knowledge of Friday’s Rulers’ meeting, the meeting is important as aside from discussing who might be Malaysia’s ninth premier, the proposal for a unity government could also be on the agenda.
After yesterday afternoon’s unique joint audience of all the major party chiefs along with the King and his deputy Sultan Nazrin Azlan Shah, several leaders such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the King called for a change in the “shape of politics” and “a pooling of the strengths of all parties with a new understanding in the spirit of cooperation”.
One official who could not be named due to the confidentiality of the audience also believes that the “King wants a bipartisan Cabinet”.
As of last night, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition decided to back Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for the prime minister position.
Among Opposition MPs, the contenders that have been named are Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. — DayakDaily