Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Muhyiddin still in charge after audience with Agong

The prime minister says those leading the calls for his removal are disappointed that he did not intervene in their criminal cases.

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Muhyiddin Yassin today said his position as prime minister will be determined through a vote of confidence at the coming Dewan Rakyat sitting in September, a day after several Umno MPs revoked their support for the government.

Muhyiddin said his proposal had been accepted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during a royal audience this morning.

“A motion of confidence will be tabled when the Dewan Rakyat convenes in September. This way, my position as prime minister as well as that of the Perikatan Nasional government will be determined in accordance with the law and the constitution.

“Alhamdulillah, His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has consented to my proposal,” he said in a special address accompanied by Cabinet members.

Muhyiddin said during his audience at Istana Negara today, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah informed him that the palace had been notified that eight Umno MPs had revoked their support.

Muhyiddin said he had informed the Agong that he has letters of support from MPs showing that he still commands the majority support.

“As such, my resignation under Article 43(4) of the constitution does not arise.

“But I am also aware that my position as prime minister is always being questioned. As such, I presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that I will determine my legitimacy as prime minister in Parliament,” he added.

Court cluster

Muhyiddin also suggested that the opposition to him by some Umno MPs was due to his refusal to interfere in their ongoing corruption cases.

“I am aware that they are unhappy with my firm resolve not to entertain some of their demands. This includes calls that I intervene in court affairs to acquit several individuals who are being prosecuted for criminal offences,” he said, referring to what is known as the “court cluster” among Umno MPs.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, his predecessor Najib Razak, Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Pontian MP Ahmad Maslan, who are facing multiple corruption charges, are among those who have revoked their support for Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin said the government machinery would continue to function as usual, including to carry out the massive Covid-19 vaccination programme that has so far covered more than 20 million people.

“Similarly, the people will be able to receive the assistance announced by the government without any hindrance.

“I call upon civil servants, especially the frontliners, to continue carrying out their duties and responsibilities without being distracted by the political turmoil that has been deliberately started by certain parties trying to exploit the situation.”

Muhyiddin said he had been accused of committing “derhaka” against the king “when what I did was to protect the supremacy of the constitution and the sanctity of the constitutional monarch”.

“I will not sacrifice my principles and turn my back on my oath of office to fulfil all duties with honesty, and I declare my loyalty to the king and country, as well as to preserve, protect and defend the constitution,” he said.

Muhyiddin was appointed as prime minister following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in February last year, after a series of audiences by MPs with the Agong to determine who had the majority support to form the government.

His remarks come a day after Zahid said he had statutory declarations (SDs) from enough MPs to show that Muhyiddin had lost the support of the majority.

Zahid said these as well as additional SDs from other Umno MPs would be submitted to the Agong.

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had made a similar claim a day earlier, saying Muhyiddin’s government had fallen.

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