Malaysian police want to interview Anwar over a list of MPs, but later postpone meeting

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian police had called up opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim for an interview as part of a probe into police reports lodged by MPs on a list of lawmakers who supposedly support him to become the next prime minister.

The interview was slated to be held at 11am on Monday (Oct 12), but police Commissioner Huzir Mohamed said later that the meeting has been postponed to a later date, The Star daily reported on its website.

Under Malaysian law, police is obligated to conduct a probe over an issue once someone has lodged a police report over the matter.

“We were informed by his (Datuk Seri Anwar’s) private secretary that he could only do so at 9am on Tuesday (Oct 13),said Mr Huzir, the director of Criminal Investigation Department. “Thus, we have delayed the recording of his statement to a later date that will be determined later.”

Several Umno MPs have told the media that they have lodged police reports in the last few days to deny they are backing Datuk Seri Anwar’s move to topple the government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

Malaysia is abuzz with questions whether Mr Anwar, 73, has the support of enough lawmakers to topple the seven-month old Perikatan Nasional government.

He claimed on Sept 23 that he has a “formidable” number of MPs behind him and that Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s government has “fallen”.

A list of 121 MPs who supposedly back him has been making its rounds on social media, with at least 15 Umno MPs denying they had anything to do with Mr Anwar’s takeover plan and several lodging police reports.

The planned police interview on Monday, if it had been carried out, comes at a sensitive time, as Mr Anwar has an audience on Tuesday with Malaysia’s King, who has a key role in determining on a change in government.

Mr Anwar has said that he will show his list of MPs to Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin before making it public.

At the last count in Parliament, PM Muhyiddin has the support of 113 MPs in the 222-seat assembly, just two lawmakers above the minimum needed to pass Bills and win a confidence vote.

Commissioner Huzir said the police probe is based on the spread of the list of 121 MPs, after receiving six police reports regarding the matter, The Star said.

He reminded the public not to be alarmed by the spread of the news on the list of MPs.

“We urge all the parties involved not to spread news that has not been verified,” he said. “We will not hesitate to take action against any party that spreads fake news or unverified news that could confuse the people, ” he added.

Mr Anwar is president of opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) with 38 MPs.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail on Monday called on Malaysians and members of his party to remain calm ahead of Mr Anwar’s meeting with Sultan Abdullah.

Datuk Seri Saifuddin told PKR members “to not hold any gathering or to gather in any location, especially along major roads, towards Istana Negara (national palace)”.

“I also call upon all Malaysians to keep calm as this audience session takes place, and to remain calm for any subsequent process that takes place thereafter,” he said in a statement quoted by Malay Mail online news.

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