Malaysian lawmakers from across the political spectrum blasted Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for calling on parliament to vote on a new leader, saying the move disrespected the country's monarch.
"The process to appoint the prime minister can not be delayed because the country needs a government for the well-being of the people and the nation", a palace statement said. The king appoints the country's premier.
Mr. Anwar said lawmakers from the three remaining parties in his alliance have nominated him as the prime minister after Mahathir rejected their offer to restore their former government.
Mahathir said this week he would return to power if enough lawmakers back him, and wants to build a "government that doesn't side with any party".
"I am heading to the palace to deliver a letter stating a change in PH's stand on the prime minister candidate".
As Malaysian politicians gathered at Istana Negara this noon, the latest update had been released, stating that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had handed in a statutory declaration at the palace. However, Syed Abu Hussin said tonight he had supported Muhyiddin, not Mahathir, while Umno politician Ahmad Maslan said Mahathir's list was inaccurate.
Yesterday, PPBM, Barisan Nasional and PAS announced that they would nominate Muhyiddin as their candidate for prime minister, while PH leaders threw their support behind Mahathir this morning. Anwar posted the statement on Twitter in an apparent show of personal support.
Three parties from the former ruling coalition have already put Anwar's name forward.
A new alliance had formed behind Muhyiddin Yassin, 72, who had the backing of the old ruling party, the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) and the Islamist party PAS.
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Mr Muhyiddin, a former Umno cadre, served as Malaysia's deputy PM from April 2009 to Jul 2015 prior to being dismissed from both his position and the political party for publicly criticising then-PM Najib Razak's handling of the multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
He has said they will wait for the king's decision.
"Anwar will have to fight another day".
However, this unprecedented turn of events was short-lived after leaders of both divides backtracked on the grounds that a unity government simply can not work. A candidate must have support of at least 112 MPs.
After his sacking, Muhyiddin joined Mahathir to form Bersatu before the 2018 general election.
One member of Bersatu's ruling council said it still backed Mahathir, but later retracted the statement. Mahathir had promised to hand power to Anwar after the 2018 election, but no date had been set.
Pakatan Harapan leaders with Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the presidential council meeting in Kuala Lumpur tonight.
Anwar was Mahathir's deputy and a rising political star when Mahathir was prime minister the first time, but they fell out over how to tackle the Asian financial crisis. Meanwhile, sources in political circles here who keep a close watch on India-Malaysia relations called Muhyiddin an inclusive leader, respectful of all religions and races, and widely supported by the royalty of Malaysia.
The "Pact of Hope", a ragtag band of opposition groups that included a party dominated by the country's ethnic Chinese minority, Anwar's People's Justice Party and Mahathir's Malay-dominated outfit, was uneasy from the start.