Muhyiddin is Malaysia’s 8th PM

The Bersatu president will start his duties today in Putrajaya

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by BERNAMA

TAN Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) was sworn in as the country’s eighth prime minister (PM) yesterday after a week of political delirium and gerrymandering, which had split the nation.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president took his oath before the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, at 10:33am at Istana Negara.

The Pagoh MP replaces the seventh PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who resigned on Feb 24.

The swearing-in ceremony, which took place at Balai Singgahsana Kecil (Minor Throne Room), was televised live. The 73-year-old former deputy PM, under the previous Barisan National (BN) rule, was accompanied by his wife Puan Sri Noorainee Abdul Rahman.

Clad in a black baju Melayu and gold-embroidered black samping, Muhyiddin signed the instruments of appointment, witnessed by Chief Justice Tan Sri Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat and Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali. Raja Permaisuri Agong Tunku Hajah Azizah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah also graced the swearing-in ceremony.

The King had appointed Muhyiddin as the new PM in accordance with Articles 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

Muhyiddin’s appointment was announced by the King on Saturday. The King, after meeting 222 MPs and dozens of political leaders, named Muhyiddin as the person who is “likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the (lower) House”, as spelt out under Article 40 of the Constitution.

His appointment ended a week of uncertainties after Bersatu pulled out from Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance, leading to the collapse of the government. Dr Mahathir then resigned as the PM, followed by political horse-trading which plunged the nation into political wilderness.

Muhyiddin, who was the former home minister under the PH administration, brokered an alliance with former adversaries — Umno and PAS — and secured their endorsement as a PM candidate.

A few PKR leaders including Datuk Seri Mohamad Azmin Ali and former VP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who were sacked from their party, joined Bersatu and endorsed Muhyiddin under the Perikatan Nasional (PN) banner.

A few PKR leaders including Azmin (picture) had joined Bersatu and endorsed Muhyiddin as PM. (pic by BERNAMA)

PH, who had nominated Dr Mahathir as the PM candidate, made an about-turn and endorsed PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim before the alliance reversed their decision again to back the 95-year-old who led the alliance to victory in the historic May 9, 2018, general election (GE).

Meanwhile, Muhyiddin brokered the support of Umno, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak. Parti Warisan Sabah, until Saturday, maintained their support for Dr Mahathir.

The King decided not to prolong the political uncertainties and selected Muhyiddin to lead the country.

“The process to appoint the PM cannot be delayed because the country needs a government for the wellbeing of the people and the nation.

“The king appoints the country’s PM. The King decreed that it was the best decision for all,” the palace said in a statement on Saturday.

Muhyiddin expressed his gratitude to the King and his supporters for being appointed the new PM when he spoke briefly to the media at his residence in Bukit Damansara on Saturday.

“I am grateful to Allah for the opportunity to become the eighth PM and for the decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. I would like to express my gratitude to the King and thank you to those who gave me moral support.

“And I have been continuously grateful over the gift Allah has given me. I only ask that the people accept the news which was announced by the palace today,” he said on Saturday.

Muhyiddin did not issue a statement after the swearing in ceremony. He will start his duties today in Putrajaya.

Dr Mahathir and the PH alliance are challenging the legitimacy of the appointment and had called for the lower house session to determine the support for Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin is no stranger to the country’s politics. Born on May 15, 1947, in the southern state of Johor, he was the state’s chief minister for almost nine years.

The son of an influential religious teacher, Muhyiddin graduated from the University of Malaya in 1970 in Economics and Malay Studies.

Seen as a peer to Anwar, Muhyiddin was appointed as the youth and sports minister by Dr Mahathir, who was then the fourth PM, in May 1995.

Muhyiddin rose through the ranks and was elected as the country’s deputy PM (DPM) between April 2009 and July 2015, while serving as Umno deputy president.

He was sacked as the DPM after questioning the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal and the purported RM2.6 billion deposited into the private accounts of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.

Muhyiddin left Umno and joined forces with Dr Mahathir in Bersatu and PH before the historic May 9 GE victory. He was made home minister by Dr Mahathir under the 20-month PH rule.

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