Malaysian PM Muhyiddin loses his majority in Parliament

11 Umno MPs withdraw support for the Malaysian Premier's Perikatan Nasional government; one Umno minister quits Cabinet

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) Muhyiddin Yassin lost his majority in Parliament yesterday after 11 Umno MPs withdrew support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

One Umno minister also announced that he was quitting the Cabinet. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said that "as a loyal Umno member", he had quit after the party's instruction to withdraw support for Mr Muhyiddin last month.

Following an emergency supreme council meeting yesterday, Umno declared it had decided to retract the support of its MPs for the PN government.

Mr Muhyiddin, whose PN would have 115 MPs if all of Umno supported him, no longer enjoys a majority in Parliament.

There are 38 Umno MPs in the 222-strong federal legislature where two seats are vacant, The Straits Times reported. Umno is the biggest bloc in the ruling alliance.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's announcement is the latest blow to the Perikatan government, whose legitimacy is being disputed by opposition MPs following the royal rebuke on the revocation of the emergency ordinances, The Star reported.

The 11 MPs who are supporting Mr Ahmad Zahid's decision include former prime minister Najib Razak.

Mr Ahmad Zahid said the latest statement by Mr Muhyiddin on tabling a motion to debate and annul the emergency ordinance in the upcoming September Parliament session does not reflect the current constitutional crisis that was triggered by the revocation of the emergency ordinances.

"The government has clearly gone against the King's decree... it has undermined His Majesty, who has decreed multiple times for all emergency ordinances to be debated and annulled before Aug 1, not September, in line with Article 150(3) of the Federal Constitution."

Mr Ahmad Zahid added: "Muhyiddin must take responsibility for the failure and defiance of the government led by him, which clearly went against the King's decree, by honourably resigning."

Mr Muhyiddin's ally Parti Islam SeMalaysia will be "meeting immediately", its deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man was quoted as saying, in reaction to the move by Umno MPs.

The Premier is due to chair a Cabinet meeting today and by convention has an audience with Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah before meeting his ministers.

This is less than a week after the ruler rebuked the government for undermining his constitutional role after it refused to table the cancellation of the ordinances for debate in Parliament.

Mr Muhyiddin has insisted that the Cabinet acted constitutionally and that the monarch, who agreed he must act on the advice of the government, was kept abreast of developments.

Umno previously mooted an "interim PM" to lead the country out of its deadliest Covid-19 wave and pave the way for fresh polls that it believes will return the party to the dominance it enjoyed for six decades until losing the 2018 election.

The Straits Times reported on Monday that newly minted Deputy Premier Ismail Sabri Yaakob is gaining support among his colleagues to take on this role.