Malaysia's ninth Prime Minister is likely to be among three political leaders, according to statements made by two coalitions
Following an UMNO Supreme Council meeting last night, 17 August, Barisan Nasional (BN) members of Parliament have unanimously named UMNO vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as their candidate for Prime Minister (PM), reported New Straits Times.
UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed that Ismail is the coalition's choice and said he was happy that UMNO was united in its choice for a PM candidate.
"Yes, it is Ismail Sabri," he told reporters following the meeting on Tuesday night.
When pressed whether Ismail obtained the majority, Tajuddin said Ismail has acquired support from over 111 MPs — the threshold to achieve a simple majority
He said MPs who support Ismail come from PAS and Bersatu, among others.
Commenting on the coalition's candidate, UMNO supreme council member Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said — who is also the deputy speaker — said Ismail is the obvious choice as he is "technically the highest" in rank in Parliament next to party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and BN backbenchers chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Malaysiakini, citing multiple sources, reported that Ismail has the backing of 115 MPs, including MPs from Ahmad Zahid's faction.
Prior to this, UMNO was divided into two camps — one was led by Ismail, while the other by Ahmad Zahid.
The latter was instrumental in bringing down the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government after he gathered 14 MPs from his party to withdraw their support for then premier Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
During that period, 23 UMNO MPs aligned with Ismail. BN has 42 MPs in total.
Meanwhile, in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, MPs are believed to have promised to choose between PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal
According to Shafie, MPs in the coalition have come to an agreement to choose between him and Anwar depending on who can get the additional support needed from outside the bloc of opposition parties.
"We have decided we have two choices of names. Anwar's and mine. Together we have 105 votes," he told Astro Awani in an interview.
"So, whoever gets more votes outside of this, we will abide by the decision. If Anwar gets more, I will concede; likewise, if I get more votes, he has to support me."
Malay Mail reported that PH represents the largest single bloc in the Dewan Rakyat with 88 MPs. Warisan — which is friendly with PH, but not part of the coalition — has eight MPs.
Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad's Pejuang has four MPs, while Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's unregistered party MUDA has two. The two groups are seen to be friendly with PH as well.
The coalition also receives support from six independent MPs, two from Parti Sarawak Baru, and one from UPKO.
During the interview with Astro Awani last night, Shafie also revealed that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong wants the person appointed to be the new PM to prove his or her legitimacy in the Parliament.
Shafie said the Agong conveyed his wish during the meeting when all political party leaders met at the Istana Negara yesterday afternoon, reported Malaysiakini.