Anwar denies meeting Najib secretly

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has denied that he is in Indonesia for a secret meeting with Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Sinar Harian reported.

The PKR de facto leader confirmed, however, that he met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to discuss several matters including the May 5 Malaysian polls, the daily said.

The Malaysian Insider news portal had reported that a Najib-Anwar meeting had been in the pipeline over the past week, apparently as Najib was certain that his position as Umno president would be challenged in the party polls set to be held by year’s end.

According to the report, Anwar’s meeting with the prime minister was to have been arranged by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is seen as close to leaders from both sides of the political divide.

But Anwar denied that any such meeting had been arranged although Najib was also  reportedly in Indonesia yesterday.

There have been reports of political manoeuverings against Najib with a few MPs from Sabah and Sarawak as well as others having approached veteran politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, complaining that they were unhappy with Najib’s cabinet appointments and the administration’s future.

Razaleigh, popularly known as Ku Li, was said to be trying to get enough numbers to be elected the prime minister when parliament commences on June 24.

Sinar Harian quoted Ibrahim Suffian, executive director of pollster Merdeka Centre, as saying that Najib’s position as prime minister is secure, especially after leading BN to victory in the May 5 election.

“With the people’s trust in him, his position is difficult to be shaken,” he said.

He added that it was unclear if Najib’s popularity increased or decreased after the election. That however has marginal impact on his standing with the Malaysian public, he added.

The daily also quoted UKM political science professor Shamsul Abadi Mamat as saying that Najib (in comparison to Razaleigh) might be hard to push aside and has influence to be reckoned with.

“Ku Li is an Umno veteran but Najib has his own influence and he is young. Therefore, maybe he has better ideas for Umno,” he said when elaborating about the possibility of Ku Li challenging Najib.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 17, 2013.

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