International Malaysia's PM Muhyiddin resigns

Malaysia’s PM Muhyiddin resigns

After admitting he has lost the majority support, Muhyiddin must resign, in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and the King may dissolve Parliament or call for a vote of confidence.

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will submit his resignation letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) tomorrow (Monday). This was conveyed to Bersatu MPs at the Perikatan Nasional (PN) headquarters this morning, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Special Functions) Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof.

Together with his letter of resignation, he is expected to propose Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as a successor.

Ismail Sabri had an audience with Johor’s Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar at Istana Pasir Pelangi on Friday (14 Aug). Johor Sultan is expected to be in line up to be the next King after the current King concludes his term.

The clarion call for Muhyiddin’s resignation witnessed street protests by youths, opposition Members of Parliament, senators and several professional bodies determined to see him leave office as he is a backdoor Government, not elected by the people.

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The writing on the wall of his imminent resignation was evidently clear when Muhyiddin summoned the component party chiefs of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government for a meeting at his residence in Bukit Damansara the whole of Saturday (yesterday).

Furthermore, social media and mainstream media carried several reports of ministers and some of their aides clearing up their offices in Putrajaya.

After admitting he has lost the majority support, Muhyiddin must resign, in accordance with the Federal Constitution, and the King may dissolve Parliament or call for a vote of confidence.

On Friday, (13th Aug) with only about 10 Cabinet members, of the 70 odd senior ministers, ministers, and deputies, were seen flanking him in a nationwide televised address. In this, Muhyiddin admitted that several MPs from the governing coalition (Perikatan Nasional) had withdrawn their support for him.

Muhyiddin’s resignation was initially prompted when UMNO president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi retracted 14 MPs from supporting Muhyiddin. Also, because opposition led by PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed that he had 105 MPs on his side.

In the televised address, he was quick to add that no other MPs could prove they had the majority support and that if he were to resign now amid the pandemic, the whole Cabinet would also go, leaving a vacuum of governance.

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Now, his anticipated resignation came also as a shock following his televised appeal two days ago (Friday) to the opposition stating: “Resigning as Prime Minister will be irresponsible at a time when there is no other MP with a majority. As there will be no one to manage the pandemic when there is no functioning Cabinet.”

His appeal is coming in the wake of Muhyiddin’s loss of support following his plea to remain in power urging opposition lawmakers to back him in Parliament. He announced reforms, enticing the opposition to agree to a bipartisan arrangement. Both UMNO and Pakatan Harapan have officially criticized him over the matter.

Sin Chew reported Muhyiddin’s last-minute olive branch for bipartisan support to keep the power on Friday was the result of the joint efforts of Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz and DAP MPs Tony Pua and Ong Kian Ming.

The Chinese daily said in an exclusive report on the agreement was reached after several rounds of secret meetings to carry out parliamentary and institutional reforms.

Muhyiddin said he is prepared to hold a special Parliament sitting before the new session on Sept 6 if there is bipartisan support for his government, and will extend formal invitations to all political parties to discuss the offers on the table for this bipartisan backing.

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He also promised to hold a general election by Jul next year to return the mandate to the people.

The Prime Minister was adamant, however, that “kleptocrats” would not be allowed to rule.
Muhyiddin said this in a televised address on Friday, offering concessions to opposition MPs in a plea for bipartisan support to enable the Perikatan Nasional government to continue under his leadership.

In the current state of more than 12,000 Covid-19 related deaths, all political parties need to be open and build an understanding to ensure that measures to take the country out of the Covid-19 pandemic can be implemented well. The country is in no mood to hold a General Election now.

The notification of the intention to resign was conveyed by Muhyiddin in his meeting on Saturday with party leaders in the PN government, according to a party official.

Seeing the end of the road in his journey, after handing over his resignation letter to the King, an official announcement of his position would be made and the King who will decide on the action to pursue in Parliament.

It will all be up to the King to decide constitutionally what the next form of government will be, whether to appoint an Acting Prime Minister, appoint an interim Prime Minister or allow the existence of a new government.

M. Krishnamoorthy is a freelance journalist and has been a local producer for CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Australian TV networks. He has also freelanced for the New York Times, TIME, Sydney Morning Herald and worked for The Star and New Straits for 35 years. He is the author of six books and his latest May 9 — People Power Saves Malaysia — Mahathir Leads the Way, was the bestseller for five months last year following the GE 14 in Malaysia. Last year, he retired as Associate Professor at an international university.

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