The head of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) announced late on Wednesday (July 7) that it has withdrawn support for the government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin with immediate effect, and is now calling on him to step down.
Mr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi condemned the administration’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic in an online press conference that followed the supreme council meeting of UMNO, the largest party in Malaysia’s ruling pact Perikatan Nasional.
UMNO had backed the Prime Minister based on the premise that he would fulfil two significant guidelines the supreme council had set on March 11, 2020, which were to effectively handling of the pandemic as well as to address the economic downturn.
The guidelines had been issued eleven days after the Prime Minister was sworn in.
According to Mr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, ”This government has clearly failed in fulfilling the people’s aspirations,” later adding that “The failure of the government in managing the Covid-19 pandemic has caused serious anxiety and depression among the people.”
Among other reasons, he also cited the growing death toll and suicide rate.
“For example, a half-baked lockdown had doubled the death toll from 2,800 to over 5,000 in only a period of 38 days after the Prime Minister announced the lockdown…There were a total of 1,099 suicide cases from March 2020 till May 2021.”
“UMNO urges Muhyiddin Yasin to withdraw honourably to enable a new prime minister to be appointed for a limited period.
The newly appointed PM will only focus on efforts to assist the people’s welfare during the pandemic,” the UMNO chief said.
However, the party will not be supporting prominent opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to be Prime Minister, and neither will UMNO support the Democratic Action Party or any coalition together with Pakatan Harapan, according to Mr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Prior to UMNO’s announcement, it was announced that two of the party’s senior leaders had been promoted to important posts: Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to the post of deputy prime minister, and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to senior minister for foreign affairs.
Both men accepted the positions from Prime Minister Muhyiddin. /TISG
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