Palace wants Parliament sitting earlier

The King reportedly reminded Muhyiddin of Article 43 of the Federal Constitution, which requires the PM to resign should he no longer command majority support in Parliament

by AFIQ AZIZ / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

PRIME Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin appeared to have put in a massive effort to sustain his administration yesterday after the King was reported to have reminded him of a Constitutional clause that called for his resignation after a loss of majority in Parliament.

Following a pre-Cabinet audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday, Muhyiddin immediately called for a meeting of leaders of parties that make up the current Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

As of last night, the outcome of the meeting has not been broadcast. According to news outlet Malaysiakini, the King did not seek Muhyiddin’s resignation, but reminded him of Article 43 of the Federal Constitution which requires the PM to resign should he no longer command majority support in Parliament.

The reminder came after eight MPs, including two ministers from former coalition member Umno, publicly retracted their support for Muhyiddin last week, which infers that the government no longer commands its slim majority of 114 in the 222-seat house.

The Opposition has also sent a letter to the King that said all of its MPs do not support the PM.

Yesterday’s development followed public demand for Muhyiddin to prove his majority in Parliament, which had until two weeks ago been prevented from sitting on health and safety precautions since early 2020 but was convened for four days on the King’s insistence for a special sitting to address pandemic measures.

However, the sitting was again suspended on Covid concerns despite protests from Opposition MPs who said it was a ploy to prevent a confidence vote on the government.

Muhyiddin addressed the nation last week, insisting he still had the majority but would only prove it in Parliament at its next session in September.

Sources told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that the palace had sought clarification from Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun on the support for the government following Umno’s withdrawal of support last week.

It is understood that Azhar previously told the palace in a letter that PN enjoyed the support of 106 MPs, but two ministers had resigned and withdrawn their support since then.

According to a Malaysiakini report, a ranking palace official said the King had asked Muhyiddin to convene Parliament sooner than scheduled to resolve his government’s legitimacy question.

The current administration’s majority has never been ascertained in Parliament since it toppled the previous government through what was dubbed the Sheraton Move in February last year.

Officially, Umno pulled out its support for Muhyddin on Aug 3 after the government refused to allow debate on Emergency Ordinances by revoking it unilaterally and against the King’s wishes.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also called a total of 38 Umno MPs in the August House to revoke their support, but this has been ignored by most Umno MPs who are in Muhyiddin’s Cabinet including Deputy PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Following Ahmad Zahid’s call, Muhyiddin lost two Cabinet members within four days — Lenggong MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah who resigned as energy and natural resources minister, and Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad, who relinquished her post as higher education minister.

Ahmad Zahid reiterated his call yesterday to pro-Muhyiddin Umno MPs to uphold the party constitution by backing the Ruler and the people in this matter.

“This is the best time for us to prove to the people that we stand with them, not with a failure where 10,000 people have lost their lives and 19,000 daily cases of (Covid-19) disease,” he said, referring to how PN has handled the pandemic.

Muhyiddin, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president, has previously claimed to have at most 114 of the support of the 222 seats in Parliament.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim currently leads Pakatan Harapan (PH) with 88 MPs in the house, while the independent bloc made up by Parti Warisan Sabah (8) and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (4), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (2), Independent (2) and United Progressive Kinabalu Organisation (1).

PKR communication director Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil believes that the Opposition views are united and clear to unseat Muhyiddin from the country’s top executive post.

“But what is more important now is to look at the first principle, which a PM has refused to uphold the Federal Constitution and acknowledged that he has lost his majority, hence tender his resignation.

“As far as we are concerned, whatever the exact number is, now Article 43 (4) should by right have already been triggered, but Muhyiddin does not want to face the reality.

“The issue is that we have a PM who does not follow the law,” the Lembah Pantai MP told TMR.

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