Malaysia’s embattled PM tries to appease king, allies up pressure

05-Aug-2021 Intellasia | Reuters | 7:03 AM Print This Post

Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin agreed on Tuesday to consider debating emergency laws in parliament, easing a standoff with the country’s monarchy, but a key ally in the premier’s ruling coalition said he had lost legitimacy.

Muhyiddin has governed with a razor-thin majority and led an unstable ruling coalition since coming to power in March 2020.

He has been under mounting pressure to quit after Malaysia’s king last week issued a rare rebuke of a government move to revoke emergency laws without his approval, an act the palace said was against the constitution.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during opening remarks for virtual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting 2020, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks during opening remarks for virtual APEC Economic Leaders Meeting 2020, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia November 20, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo

Some allies have accused Muhyiddin of treason, while opposition lawmakers have urged him to step down for disrespecting the king. Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the king is revered across the country’s multi-ethnic population.

“Muhyiddin must take responsibility for the failure and defiance of his government that contradicted the king’s decree by resigning as PM with honour,” Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, president of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, said in a statement.

UMNO is the biggest bloc in Muhyiddin’s ruling alliance. Some of its lawmakers have sent a letter to the king to show they have withdrawn support for Muhyiddin and that he has lost his majority, the statement said.

The party is split on its support for Muhyiddin, however. Last month, UMNO said it had pulled support for Muhyiddin but its cabinet ministers did not quit.

Deputy prime minister and UMNO politician Ismail Sabri Yaakob last week said he supported Muhyiddin and the government had the support of 110 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentarians.

Earlier on Tuesday, Muhyiddin said his cabinet would discuss holding a debate in parliament to repeal laws imposed during emergency rule, which was in place from January until August 1 to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

The debate could be held during a scheduled parliamentary session in September, Muhyiddin said in a statement.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/malaysias-embattled-pm-says-will-discuss-debate-emergency-laws-2021-08-03/

 

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