Malaysia will hold polls only when Covid-19 pandemic is over: PM

Declaring an emergency not a bid to hold on to power, says Muhyiddin

PUTRAJAYA : Malaysia will hold elections only when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, adding that declaring an emergency was not a bid on his part to hold on to power.

"Once the pandemic is over, which I hope will be very soon, I will advise the Yang Di-pertuan Agong (King Abdullah Ahmad Shah) to dissolve Parliament.

"Until such time, my colleagues in the Cabinet and I will continue to carry out our duties and responsibilities to the best of our abilities."

When delivering his special address in conjunction with Perikatan Nasional's one-year anniversary, Mr Muhyiddin said the current state of emergency has an Aug 1 deadline and "none of the ordinances that have been proclaimed are meant to keep a prime minister in power forever".

"This is the first time in our country's history that an emergency has an end date.

"The main focus of this government at this moment is to steer this country clear of the double whammy of health and economic crises," he said.

Mr Muhyiddin came to power after he led a group of defectors out of the Pakatan Harapan coalition government, which led to its collapse.

His ruling Perikatan Nasional coalition gained emergency powers - which suspends the need for Parliament to reconvene within six months of its last sitting - on Jan 11, amid unhappiness from his largest ally Umno, leading to three MPs recanting their support for his leadership around the turn of the year.

This left the government with just 109 out of 220 MPs - two seats are vacant in the 222-strong chamber.

However, Mr Muhyiddin, who is president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, was bolstered last weekend when two MPs from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat declared their support for Perikatan Nasional.

Still, a parliamentary session before the emergency expires - currently slated for Aug 1 unless a bipartisan panel advises the King to do so earlier - is unlikely as more Umno lawmakers could turn their backs on Mr Muhyiddin.- THE STAR, THE STRAITS TIMES