It will be business as usual for the government despite Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s announcement late last night that the party had revoked its support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
This is because any decision by a political party regarding its support for the government has no legal effect.
As such, what will decide Muhyiddin’s survival is whether he commands the confidence of a majority of MPs, as stated in Article 43 of the Federal Constitution.
Under the constitution, the prime minister only needs to resign if he loses a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat.
With Umno itself split into different factions, its president’s statement still has to be put to the test, said a senior constitutional lawyer.
“The situation is fluid and there is no obligation upon him to resign at this point.
“This is the correct reading of Article 43(4), which lately has been interpreted simplistically and tendentiously by some quarters,” the lawyer told MalaysiaNow.
Meanwhile, it is understood that the vast majority of Umno MPs are sticking with their decision not to revoke support for Muhyiddin, despite Zahid’s announcement.
A senior Umno source said aside from Zahid, only a handful of MPs who include former leader Najib Razak and Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan have decided to revoke support for the prime minister.
“The others are expected to announce a joint statement today,” it said.
MalaysiaNow has also learnt that the Supreme Council which met yesterday had allowed MPs the freedom to break ranks with its decision to revoke support for Muhyiddin.
The move not only means it will be business as usual for the Perikatan Nasional government, it also shows Zahid in his weakest position yet since winning the top party post two years ago, unable to use his presidential powers to force members to toe the line.