Kuala Lumpur—The political turmoil in Malaysia has not abated even with the administration’s new cabinet being named a week after its newly-minted Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, took office.
PM Muhyiddin recently came under fire from Kulim-Bandar Baru MP Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution, the secretary-general of the People’s Justice Party (PKR).
Mr Saifuddin said the new Prime Minister misled the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Malaysia’s King, when he said he had the support of all 36 Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia MPs.
Secondly, he cast doubt about PM Muhyiddin’s health. The new Prime Minister underwent treatment for early-stage pancreatic cancer less than two years ago.
Mr Saifuddin said at the Jelajah Harapan ceramah at Taman Sri Andalas on March 8, “I pity him because he is a recovering cancer patient. Whenever Cabinet met every Wednesday of the week, Muhyiddin would only attend once a month as the rest of the time he was on medical leave.”
Given the state of his health, Mr Saifuddin, Malaysia’s former domestic trade and consumer affairs minister, wondered if he would be able to serve as the country’s Prime Minister well, since he had not been able to fully perform his duties as home minister.
He added, “Other challenges await, such as determining how long he can hold onto power by making sure all Perikatan Nasional parties cooperate with each other.”
Regarding having misled the king, Mr Saifuddin said that the leaders of Pakatan Harapan filed a police report against him on March 2, when he officially assumed his position as Prime Minister, according to the Malay Mail.
He told a crowd of over 300 people, “We only need to prove that Muhyiddin does not have a simple Parliamentary majority of 112 MPs, since not all 36 Bersatu MPs stood behind him.
People like Langkawi MP Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah, and Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik.
They were not with Muhyiddin when he handed in the statutory declarations of 36 MPs to the Agong. This was the basis of our report lodged with the police.”
However, some voices have been raised in defense of the new Prime Minister after Mr Saifuddin made his remarks.
According to former minister Saifuddin Abdullah, PM Muhyiddin’s attendance in Cabinet meetings were regular after he had finished his cancer treatment.
He told Free Malaysia Today, “To say that he comes only once a month is a gross misrepresentation of the entire thing. We can always check attendance with the chief secretary to the government.”
He emphasized that the new Prime Minister has recovered from cancer. “We should be happy for him and that he showed that he is a fighter, not use this as his weakness.”
PM Muhyiddin needed to go on leave from his position as home minister in 2018, as he went to Singapore for chemotherapy and to have a tumor removed. —/TISG
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