KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 19): Perikatan Nasional (PN) has thrown its unanimous support behind Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as the prime minister candidate, said chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, on the condition that Ismail Sabri must not appoint anyone who is facing criminal charges to his Cabinet.

The Cabinet ministers Ismail Sabri chooses must be those with integrity and are trustworthy, Muhyiddin said in a statement today.

The government under his leadership must also respect the separation of power, protect the freedom of the judiciary, and adhere to the system of constitutional monarchy, he said.

All 50 members of parliament (MPs) from PN coalition parties — 31 from Bersatu, 18 from PAS and one from STAR — submitted their statutory declarations to the Istana Negara yesterday to express their support for the UMNO vice-president, said Muhyiddin.

"Four independent MPs who are pro-PN have also done the same," he added without naming them. These brought the support for Ismail Sabri from PN-linked MPs to 54.

Muhyiddin also said he had "negotiated with the party leaders from GPS and PBS, which had formed the previous PN government, to do the same".

The decision to back Ismail Sabri, PN's former deputy prime minister, was made to ensure the continuity of government policies established by the previous PN government in combating Covid-19 and supporting economic recovery, he said.

This also proves that PN prioritises political stability and public well-being, over the ongoing power grab, he said.

"When faced with a crisis situation, politicians must be magnanimous for the interest of the people and the nation.

"I hope the appointment of a new prime minister goes smoothly and can be finalised in the near term in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

"As the chairman of Perikatan Nasional, I will continue to serve the people and prepare the party to face the 15th general election when the time comes," he added.

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