Updated: Malaysian PM Muhyiddin resigns

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin is said to have officially tendered his resignation to the King or Yang Di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah today.

It is believed his resignation has been accepted and he is expected to hold a press conference later today.

His resignation comes after weeks of political and social unrest in the country with various parties and factions calling for him to resign, holding him accountable for the country’s poor performance in combating the Covid-19 crisis and an economic downturn that has left thousands of Malaysians without jobs and businesses shut down.

It has been an unblessed and controversial premiership right from the beginning. His ruling coalition, Perikatan Nasional, came into power via a backdoor that opened following the resignation of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as the then Prime Minister that led to the downfall of the legitimately elected government of Pakatan Harapan.

Muhyiddin became the ultimate traitor as he withdrew, along with his supporters from the Bersatu party, from the then ruling PH coalition to partner UMNO and gain the numbers in Parliament to form the new PN government. He later became the Prime Minister with the required majority.

His subsequent move to make the Cabinet a Malay Muslim set up did not endear him to the multi-racial composition that Malaysia is, with many netizens taking to the social media to voice their frustrations and anger with the growing favouritism and lopsided governance the country was seeing. But that was not the major contributor to his fall.

His unfortunate acquisition during his tenure was the Covid-19 crisis. When he became the Prime Minister, the Covid-19 numbers in the country were small but by June this year, the pandemic had debilitated the country’s health system, its economy and its people as the runs of the Movement Control Order were alleged to have not helped much. Much of the poor management of the entire episode was blamed on him and his team.

His declaration of Emergency early this year citing the Covid-19 as reason was seen as a foil to keep his position as Prime Minister. A royal decree was issued that the Emergency should not go past the date of Aug 1 and that the Parliament be reconvened as soon as possible.

Muhyiddin delayed the reconvening of the Parliament as the debate went on the Agong’s “as soon as possible” call to open the parliament. This was seen as the beginning of Muhyiddin’s open “disrespect” of the Agong and the loss of support from many UMNO MPs.

In July this year, several riots were also held by the Black Flag movement, calling for his resignation and this was echoed across the country by various political parties as well.

When the Parliament reconvened for a special meeting on July 26, things took a turn for the worse.

On July 29, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong revealed that he had not consented to the revocation of the emergency ordinances (EOs) that was said to have been revoked on July 21 and announced in the Parliament on July 26.

The Agong said he was aggrieved with the statement made in Parliament on Monday July 26, 2021, that the government had revoked all Emergency Ordinances under the ongoing emergency without His Majesty’s consent.

According to the Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, the King was also very disappointed that His Majesty’s decree during a virtual audience to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan and Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun for the proposed revocation of all the ordinances to be tabled and debated in Parliament had not been carried out.

The King stressed that the minister’s statement in Parliament on July 26 was inaccurate and misled the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

The announcement on the EOs revocation also caught most MPs by shock and many hours were spent in the August House debating on the revocation without the due Parliament process. The Parliament was adjourned that Friday, July 29, and a sitting scheduled on the following Monday was postponed.

A rally took place on that Monday with Opposition MPs gathering at the Dataran Merdeka here to march towards the Parliament. Their march was stopped by the Federal Reserve Unit. The MPs began their open call for Muhyiddin to resign and according to what has been stipulated in the Federal Constitution.

Muhyiddin continued to see the loss of support from UMNO MPs.

Prior to his resignation today, Muhyiddin had stated that the measures and efforts taken to contain the Covid-19 were finally paying off with the country expected to see an 80 percent herd immunity achieved by end of October. He also announced the opening of the economic sectors in phases and plans for recovery efforts.

He made a final offer for bipartisan support from the Opposition, promising reforms in the Parliament and other concessions as well.

This may have come too late.

The offer was rejected on many grounds, with Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim describing the offer of perks to the Senior Opposition Minister as an insult in the middle of a pandemic where the rakyat were struggling for RM50 and RM100 to get on by.

— WE