Muhyiddin’s status remains in question

Several parties call for PM’s resignation, while also singling out Azmin and Hamzah for ill-advising Muhyiddin

by AFIQ AZIZ & FARA AISYAH / pic by ARIF KARTONO

THE fate of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s position as the prime minister (PM) remains shaky as party leaders who are allied to the ruling coalition remained tight-lipped over speculations that they had withdrawn their support for the Pagoh lawmaker.

A series of political meetings were held in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur yesterday following Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah’s announcement which rejected Muhyiddin’s proposal to invoke emergency powers — a move that hinged on curbing the further spread of Covid-19.

Loke calls for all political parties to meet and find ways to resolve current political crisis – TMRpic

Several media outlets reported that Muhyiddin, who leads Perikatan Nasional (PN), had met with some political leaders aligned to him at his office in Putrajaya yesterday. He also chaired a special Cabinet meeting to determine the next cause of action following the King’s decision.

Among the leaders who were seen entering the Perdana Putra Building for the meeting include PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, MIC president Tan Sri SA Vigneswaran, Sabah’s STAR president Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan and Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu Sarawak (PBB) senior VP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.

In the afternoon, Barisan Nasional (BN) also held a meeting that discussed the possibilities of leaving Muhyiddin’s administration. Speculations were rife that Muhyiddin was willing to vacate his position as PM due to the Palace’s rejection of the proposed emergency.

It was reported on Sunday night that Muhyiddin had considered tendering his resignation to the King, however, he did not do so following persuasion from some of his Cabinet ministers in what was described as an “emotional meeting”.

Still, that did not stop Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Mohd Puad Zarkashi from calling for Muhyiddin’s resignation, singling out Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia leaders Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin for ill-advising the PM.

“Is it true that they had illadvised Muhyiddin?” he asked.

Prior to the BN meeting, newly appointed party treasurer general Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told the press that the coalition will also hold further discussions on whether Muhyiddin should step down.

He also said he was not aware of the rumours that the Pagoh MP had resigned.

On Umno’s position or support for the PN government, Hishammuddin said “wait for the meeting”.

Padang Besar MP Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin also confirmed that BN MPs had discussed the possibility of withdrawing their support for Muhyiddin in the afternoon meeting.

“Umno will make a final decision at its meeting tonight on the party’s support for the PN government,” he told the media yesterday.

Gua Musang MP Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah (picture) said the Umno Supreme Council would also decide the matter en-bloc — either Umno will continue its support for Muhyiddin’s government or otherwise.

It was reported that the Muhyiddin-led government, which holds only 113 of 222 total support in the Dewan Rakyat, faces the risk of a collapse should there not be enough support in the Lower House when Budget 2021 is tabled next Friday.

BN currently has 43 seats that are in support of the newly-registered alliance, of which 39 are held by Umno.

Before Muhyiddin requested for the state of emergency last week, the Umno political bureau, chaired by its president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had decided that the Malay-based party would retract its support for PN.

However, two days before Muhyiddin’s Cabinet proposed to invoke the emergency power to the King, Ahmad Zahid said Umno had decided on a “political ceasefire” and pledged to continue the party’s support to the ruling coalition.

In a statement issued by the Palace on Sunday, the monarch also urged political parties to avoid any move that could destabilise the government, while stressing the importance to get the Budget 2021 to be passed due to the crucial state of the Covid-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, DAP Senator Liew Chin Tong said in a statement yesterday that the party, which has 42 seats in Parliament, would consider supporting Muhyiddin’s government.

However, DAP’s condition for the support is also loud and clear — the Bersatu president must drop Senior Minister Azmin and Home Minister Hamzah from the Cabinet.

Earlier, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke reiterated his call for all political parties to meet and find ways to resolve the current political crisis.

PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil on the other hand said the onus is on Muhyiddin to reach across the political divide and enhance political stability in the lead up to the budget debate.

The Lembah Pantai MP also told CNA that the Opposition will honour the King’s advice to “stop politicking”, adding that the Pakatan Harapan coalition could review “new configurations” in supporting the Palace’s call.