PM should be honest about number of support, Umno says

It is hard for Muhyiddin to say that he still commands the majority in Parliament after Ahmad Zahid has disclosed a letter he sent to the King in which he named 14 MPs who withdrew their supports from PM

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by TMR FILE

PRIME Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should be honest about the number of support he has, following Umno leaders’ action to withdraw support from him and the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan (picture) said it is hard for prime minister (PM) to |say that he still commands the majority support in the Parliament after the party president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has disclosed a letter he sent to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah dated Aug 4 in which he named 14 MPs who withdrew their supports from PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“If there is no 111 (majority), just say there is none. Then leave it to the wisdom of His Majesty to act accordingly within the tenets of the Federal Constitution,” Shahril said in a statement.

“Whatever the future action may be, at least one is not accused of misleading the Palace. His Majesty’s role is enshrined in the Constitution,” he added.

In the letter, Ahmad Zahid said the follow-through note was presented after he received additional statutory declarations (SDs), a matter which he had also informed the King through a letter on July 30.

In the earlier message, Ahmad Zahid said he had presented a number of SDs from MPs from the Barisan Nasional (BN) bloc who sought to revoke their support for Muhyiddin as the PM.

The second letter was posted on the party website on Monday, followed by 13 SDs signed by Umno MPs. Among the MPs were former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak and former Energy and Natural Resources Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

Shamsul Anuar signed the SD on the same date he vacated his ministerial post on August 3.

Umno stalwart and Gua Musang MP Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah did not sign the SD as he had already requested his seat in the Dewan Rakyat be moved to the independent bloc last month, which was subsequently granted by the house Speaker.

“He also did not sign any SD to support Muhyiddin Yassin as the PM (previously),” said Ahmad Zahid in the letter.

Ahmad Zahid further explained that the stand was in line with Umno’s decision which was decided through the resolution of the Supreme Council on July 7.

The tension between Umno and PN government — which partially has Umno MPs appointed in various positions as Cabinet members — heightened after Umno finally decided to abandon Muhyiddin’s shaky administration which previously governed with a razor-thin majority.

On July 30, Ahmad Zahid and a number of Umno MPs told the media that the Malay party is set to leave the ruling pact and claim the downfall of Muhyiddin’s government.

The announcement was made after the PM’s Office replied to the Palace that the Cabinet can bypass the Parliament in revoking the Emergency Ordinance — a move which was seen as going against the wishes of Sultan Abdullah which Umno could not tolerate.

Following Ahmad Zahid’s announcement, Shamsul Anuar announced his exit from the Cabinet, followed by the Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad (Parit Sulong) two days later.

Muhyiddin, however, said he will prove that he still commands the majority in the Dewan Rakyat next month, with a motion of support of confidence expected to be tabled. Muhyiddin said Sultan Abdullah agreed with this decision.

Based on Dewan Rakyat sitting, Umno commands a total of 38 seats in the lower house while the MCA with two and MIC with one seat which means that BN controls 41 of the 222 seats in the house.

Two seats — Batu Sapi and Gerik — have remained vacant after the incumbent lawmakers died last year.

On Aug 6, Umno VP and deputy PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced a list of 30 BN MPs and one from Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, Arthur Joseph Kurup, backing Muhyiddin as the PM following a meeting between the MPs.

However, Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Tanjung Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar who attended the meeting did not sign any declaration supporting Muhyiddin but were only present for the briefing.

Following are the MPs that Ahmad Zahid listed together with the SDs signed between July 29 and Aug 3 which was presented to Sultan Abdullah.

They are Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (Pekan); Ahmad Zahid (Bagan Datuk); Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (Pontian); Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (Lenggong); Abdul Azeez; Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang); Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin (Kinabatangan); Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang); Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit); Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut); Ramli Mohd Nor (Cameron Highlands); Datuk Mohamad Alamin (Kimanis); Noh and Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah (Gua Musang).

As far as the letter is concerned, Ahmad Zahid said the 14 MPs did not withdraw their declaration letters as of date.