Tuesday, September 21, 2021

I have big support, Muhyiddin says as he marks first year as PM

He maintains that he still possesses majority support, rejecting accusations that the state of emergency was a ploy to remain in power.

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Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has defended his appointment to the top office a year ago, amid repeated claims from the opposition questioning the legitimacy of his administration.

Muhyiddin, who became prime minister on March 1 just days before he was forced to declare a nationwide lockdown to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, said he still has the largest chunk of support from MPs despite claims that he no longer has the majority.

“I am confident that I have big support. I am convinced that my position is constitutionally right. Legal. I cannot sit as an illegitimate prime minister. That’s because I do my work properly. So, I’m not worried about that,” he said in an interview with national news agency Bernama and several media outlets.

He cited the budget votes in the Dewan Rakyat last year, which saw his ruling bloc defeating every attempt by the opposition to scuttle the budget bill.

“Our Supply Bill was approved 27 times. I don’t mean to boast. It’s on record in Parliament, Budget 2021 was passed. How did it get approved if there was no majority?” he said.

He also rejected accusations that the state of emergency declared last month was a ploy by him to remain in power.

“We also do not want to be restricted by such a regulation forever,” he said, adding that the emergency would be lifted earlier than its expiry on Aug 1 if country is deemed safe from the virus.

Muhyiddin again assured that a general election would be called once the Covid-19 crisis is overcome.

“When we are done with it, I don’t want to wait even a day (to hold elections),” he added.

The virus has infected over 300,000 people in Malaysia since it was first detected in early 2020, with more than 1,000 deaths recorded.

Muhyiddin said for now, it is up to the Agong to decide on ending the state of emergency as well as dissolving Parliament, based on the advice of the special bipartisan committee.

“It is not the government who will decide. The committee will advise the Agong that now that is over, we can end the emergency, back to normal.

“If the Agong gives his consent based on the advice, then only Parliament will be dissolved.

“The question is when? Can you answer that? When the time is right, that’s why first things first, let’s settle this Covid first.”

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