Two Umno MPs have slammed the door on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional government, but the latter is still clinging to power, saved by the state of emergency which comes into force today in Malaysia.
Last month, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah made it clear he does not support Muhyiddin as PM. This brings the count of Umno MPs against Muhyiddin to 3.
Umno now has 36 MPs who are in support of Muhyiddin. The MPs leaving Muhyiddin are saying there are another two or three Umno MPs who are withdrawing support for the PM.
However, the MPs are too late in their attempt to cause a collapse of the government.
After the withdrawal of support of the three MPs, Muhyiddin now has 110 MPs on his side.
The death of two MPs last year have left their seats vacant. The number of MPs behind Muhyiddin means his government has a majority of 1.
The question that arises is why did they choose to retract their support for Muhyiddin on the eve of the emergency? Why now?
They are showing their colours after the state of emergency has come into force, but this does not impact Muhyiddin’s leadership in the current situation.
First, the suspension of parliament limits their capacity as MPs to have any impact on the running of the government.
Second, the MPs are not cabinet ministers and their so-called withdrawal of support to the PM does not diminish his capacity to rule.
Third, in the state of emergency, the PM does not need the 222 MPs to nag and heckle him on the way he runs the country. He only needs his cabinet to support him, and this does not seem to be a problem for him. He also needs the King and that too, is not a problem for Muhyiddin.
Nevertheless, according to reports, the declaration of the state of emergency does not mean the dissolution of the Parliament is automatic.
Instead, Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun confirmed that Parliament has not been dissolved. This means that Parliament may resume after August 1, depending on whether the government will lift the state of emergency within the six months.
If more Umno MPs were to leave the PN government before the August 1 deadline, it will mean the PN government has lost power.
It is only after the Parliament reopens that we will get a clearer picture of who really supports Muhyiddin. But there are talks that this may not happen because the government will move to dissolve the Parliament after the termination of emergency rule.
Umno wants a swift by-election and has called on Muhyiddin to return the power to the people to choose who will lead the country.
The party gave itself until Jan 31 to decide on its support for Muhyiddin. It looks like Muhyiddin pre-empted the Umno’s move with the state of emergency.
However we have been told that Umno may still push for a withdrawal of support on Jan 31, which will add spice to the debates on the state of the already fractious regime headed by Muhyiddin.
Send in your scoop to firstname.lastname@example.org