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Malaysia PM Muhyiddin Cabinet resigns after his audience with King


KUALA LUMPUR - Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassins Cabinet has resigned Monday (Aug 16), a minister said after the premiers audience with the King at the Palace. 

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Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin revealed this on his Instagram account after their last Cabinet meeting concluded earlier this morning.

"Thank you for the opportunity to, once again, serve the nation. May God bless Malaysia," Mr Khairy said.

This draws the curtains on Tan Sri Muhyiddin's tumultuous 18-month rule, after a fortnight-long assault on his leadership which began when 11 Umno MPs withdrew their support for him on Aug 3.

But his likely ouster looks set to throw the nation into deeper uncertainty.

Despite a weekend of endless meetings and proposals across the political divide, there is still no clear candidate to succeed the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president.

While The Straits Times understands that Mr Muhyiddin will still advise Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah that his Perikatan Nasional (PN) remains the largest bloc in Parliament with 100 out of the 220 sitting MPs, the constitution obliges the Premier to resign as there is no provision for a minority government.

Mr Muhyiddin could be asked to stay on in a caretaker capacity while the monarch determines who, among a clutch of hopefuls, can command the majority of the 222-strong legislature, where two seats are currently vacant.

While Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's Pakatan Harapan (PH) has 88 MPs, most lawmakers outside of the coalition are either opposed to his leadership or bound by Umno's resolution earlier this year to not team up with him or Democratic Action Party (DAP), the largest component in PH.

Out of the 120 lawmakers opposed to Mr Muhyiddin's leadership, 15 are in Umno president Zahid Hamidi's camp and another 17 in various parties largely loyal to former premier Mahathir Mohamad.

Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri Yaakob has tried to convince his PN colleagues to back him for a smooth transition, with sources indicating he will offer his existing role of Deputy Prime Minister to Bersatu. If he is able to convince Mr Zahid's camp, then its majority will be restored as a government of 115 MPs.

Nonetheless, Malaysia's longest-serving lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is also being weighed up as an alternative, as the Umno stalwart is seen as a compromise between the current government and opposition benches.

An option open to the King is to dissolve Parliament, but with polls required within 60 days, this would force a nation in the throes of its deadliest Covid-19 wave to head to the ballot and risk a repeat of the surge after the Sabah state election a year ago from which Malaysia has never fully recovered.

Published : August 16, 2021

By : The Straits Times / ANN