Experts opine that PM Muhyiddin Yassin can still legally cling on to power for the time being.
Despite losing their majority, the Perikatan Nasional Plus government can still continue to govern – at least for now – according to experts.
This is as even though it has only the backing of 110 out of the 220 MPs currently in the Dewan Rakyat, PN Plus is still the largest bloc.
“This would weaken (prime minister) Muhyiddin Yassin but is not enough to oust him until an alternative majority emerges,” political scientist Wong Chin Huat told Malaysiakini.
“And until enough Umno members are willing to support a Pakatan Harapan-led government, Muhyiddin’s rump coalition will still have the plurality, the largest number even though not a majority, in the House,” he added.
These views were shared by Malaysian Council of Professors senior fellow Jeniri Amir and constitutional lawyer Lim Wei Jiet.
PN Plus lost its majority after Umno’s Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub withdrew support for the government today.
Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has voiced opposition to Muhyiddin too but has thus far abstained from voting against the government in Parliament.
The opposition, meanwhile, is fractured with Pakatan Harapan and Anwar Ibrahim holding only 91 MPs.
Warisan’s eight lawmakers, the four Pejuang MPs led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad and three other MPs have not voiced support for Anwar to be prime minister.
“Without an alternative majority, there is always the room for ambiguity for the king to believe that Muhyiddin still holds the majority since the election is already ruled out,” Wong said.
Meanwhile, Lim – who is also a Muda co-founder – also said Muhyiddin is not obliged to resign.
“On principle, he should resign. But it is not legally mandatory,” he said when contacted, adding that this would change if PN were to lose one more MP leaving it with just 109 lawmakers.
Likewise, the lawyer said there was no need for Muhyiddin to meet the Yang di- Pertuan Agong unless he is summoned.
The move by Ahmad Jazlan comes amid a push by Umno to sever ties with Muhyiddin’s party Bersatu.
This will be decided at Umno’s general assembly on Jan 31.
“PN’s fate will be clearer then,” Jeniri said.
However, despite Umno’s rejection of Bersatu, this does not mean it supports PKR’s Anwar despite the latter’s claims of having a strong, formidable majority.
Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz – who is a proponent of Umno splitting with Bersatu – insists that Umno maintains its “no Anwar, no DAP stance”.
Wong noted it this sentiment that will keep Muhyiddin and PN in power for now.
“Umno is still trapped with its anti-Anwar, Harapan, DAP narrative and fears an abrupt U-turn will cause its defeat at the hand of PAS and Bersatu under the banner of Malay unity.
“In short, what keeps Muhyiddin afloat is the presently still irreconcilable differences between Umno and Harapan-DAP,” he said.
By : ZIKRI KAMARULZAMAN- MALAYSIAKINI