It could boil down to whether PH or Umno can convince Agong it commands majority support in Parliament, says expert
KUALA LUMPUR – The decision by several Umno MPs to withdraw their support for Perikatan Nasional and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin may be the easiest part in proving the collapse of the government, said Universiti Teknologi Malaysia geostrategist Prof Azmi Hassan.
The hardest part, Azmi said, given the present circumstances, would be the choice of a new prime minister.
“If the withdrawal of Umno MPs can be proven, then, theoretically, Muhyiddin is running a minority government and, according to our constitution, he no longer has the majority support to be the prime minister,” he told The Vibes yesterday.
The choice for the prime minister designate, he said, could boil down to Umno or Pakatan Harapan, which each having to demonstrate to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that they command the majority.
“And that is harder in comparison with Umno’s decision. I hope that either one will have a prime ministerial candidate who can get the support of Umno and PH MPs.
“Of course, the best way forward is to get support from Bersatu and PAS because the people want a stable government and are already anxious following Umno’s announcement,” he said.
Azmi said a prime minister designate who is able to get the support of all quarters is necessary to ensure a smooth change of government in the middle of a global health crisis.
“The candidate should be able to bring a healing factor over the political imbroglio suffered for the last several months and earn support from all quarters,” he added.
Meanwhile, constitutional lawyer New Sin Yew in a Facebook post said, following Umno’s decision and with 107 MPs in the opposition, Muhyiddin no longer wields majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.
“Now, the important question is, how do we test whether Muhyiddin still enjoys the confidence of the majority?
“The best way is through a vote of no confidence in the Dewan Rakyat. But we have seen that such motions have been repeatedly denied by the speaker,” he said, adding that the government could also postpone another Dewan Rakyat sitting for another six months.
Regardless of whether another MP has the confidence of the majority, New said that Muhyiddin must resign if he no longer enjoys majority support.
“In light of these circumstances, the Agong has every right to require Muhyiddin to prove that he still enjoys the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat and that he is still in a position to advise the king.
“If Muhyiddin concedes that he has lost the confidence of the majority, it is open for him to request the Agong to dissolve Parliament under Article 43(4) of the federal constitution.
“However, the Agong may decline to do so under Article 40(2) and instead appoint another prime minister in his place.”