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PAS joins Umno to shore up support for Malaysian PM Muhyiddin

M'sian PM gets lifeline but is not certain to get enough votes to pass budget

PETALING JAYA: Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) has joined Umno in voicing support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, providing another lifeline for his embattled Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.

PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan said in a statement yesterday that the party has told its 18 MPs to stand in solidarity with Mr Muhyiddin, The Star reported.

Umno had decided in a meeting on Monday night that it will not work with Parti Keadilan Rakyat or the Democratic Action Party and will continue to support the PN government.

Calls for Mr Muhyiddin to resign grew after the King on Sunday rejected his request for a declaration of emergency rule.

Critics have accused the premier of using the pandemic as an excuse to suspend Parliament and avoid a test of his majority.

Umno, which had this month threatened to withdraw support for Mr Muhyiddin, said it would now back him as the time had come for reconciliation to ensure stability and to focus on the pandemic.

Still, it is uncertain whether the government can muster enough votes to pass the 2021 budget, which is scheduled to be tabled in parliament on Nov 6.

It would be the first budget presented by Mr Muhyiddin's government since it took power in March, and defeat could trigger an election.

Given the infighting, there is no guarantee that all ruling coalition lawmakers would vote in favour of the budget, Reuters reported.

"The party president says support the government. But there is no guarantee as it's up to the individual MPs," a senior source in Umno told the news agency.

Umno sources told The Straits Times that the party's support is conditional on concessions that the premier may be unlikely to make, underscoring the growing view that Mr Muhyiddin's grip on power is weakening rapidly.

"Muhyiddin has won some breathing space but the prospects are still uncertain, especially with the growing clarity that not all of Umno is with him," Mr Ibrahim Suffian, head of polling firm Merdeka Centre told The Straits Times.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia's politics and governance research group head Mazlan Ali told The Star it would be ideal for the opposition to be consulted on matters of national interest following calls for a political ceasefire.

Dr Mazlan said the PN government would remain "shaky" if it continued to depend on Umno's support.

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