Malaysia’s PM Muhyiddin advised to resign by allies in his PN ruling alliance, govt sources say

KUALA LUMPUR : Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has been advised to resign by allies in his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government after a stunning rebuke on Thursday (July 29) by the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah.

The Palace issued a statement insisting the King did not consent to the government’s unilateral move to revoke ordinances that the ruler had earlier approved during the seven-month emergency which expires on Sunday.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin was holed up with close advisers in Cabinet as well as the Attorney General at his residence after the morning’s parliamentary proceedings, with the afternoon session delayed by an hour.

“PM was told the situation has become too chaotic and untenable,” a source with knowledge of the discussions told The Straits Times.

Datuk Ashraf Wajdi Dusuki, youth chief of Umno, the largest party in government, made an open call for the Premier to step down, accusing him of “treason”.

“Umno Youth urges Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to immediately resign,” he said in a statement just hours after the royal rebuke.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has for weeks agitated the party’s MPs to leave the beleaguered administration, which has been hard pressed to defend its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zahid, a former deputy premier added in a statement on Thursday that “Umno will ask Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan to resign honourably.”

It is not known how Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will respond to the demands.PHOTO: AFP

De facto law minister Takiyuddin had on Monday claimed the ordinances – which the government had insisted were crucial in fighting Malaysia’s worsening outbreak – had been cancelled by Cabinet on July 21, prompting the opposition to question whether the King had consented to the decision as the withdrawal of the laws had not been officially gazetted.

The Straits Times understands that Umno ministers, who have remained steadfast to Mr Muhyiddin despite pressure from Zahid, have told the Premier his grip on power has been shaken by the discord with the Palace.

Mr Muhyiddin has been widely seen as secure in office despite long-standing doubts over his parliamentary majority due to Sultan Abdullah’s implied endorsement.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president was sworn in to lead government in March 2020 despite predecessor Mahathir Mohamad claiming to have the backing of more MPs. 

Sultan Abdullah also called on MPs to support the government’s budget at the end of last year and then assented to Mr Muhyiddin’s request for an emergency in January, moves that has so far kept the Premier in power.

Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has also filed a fresh motion of no-confidence against Mr Muhyiddin. However, the matter was not addressed on Thursday after Deputy Speaker Rashid Hasnon announced that two cases of Covid-19 were detected in Parliament this week.

“Tests will be conducted… on all MPs and no one is allowed to leave the Parliament complex until results are obtained. The sitting is postponed until 5.15pm,” he said.

It is not known how Mr Muhyiddin will respond to the demands.

He has repeatedly promised fresh polls once the pandemic is under control.

By : Shannon Teoh – THE STRAITS TIMES

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