Thirty-one MPs from Barisan Nasional (BN) today broke ranks with the coalition’s chairman Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, even as they were given an ultimatum to state whether they would heed the call to revoke support for the current government.
“Our focus is to help the government overcome the Covid-19 crisis. It would be irresponsible to the people if we rushed to quit the government as instructed by the party.
“The party’s objective is to serve the people. We will continue to remain with the government until its legitimacy is determined in Parliament,” they said at a press conference attended by 20 of them, led by Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
The group questioned incessant calls by Zahid for them to quit the government, as well as a claim that more statutory declarations (SDs) revoking support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin had been submitted.
Ten other MPs, including ministers Dr Adham Baba, Hishammuddin Hussein, Khairy Jamaluddin and Reezal Merican Naina Merican were not present but had stated their support for the group.
Ismail said Zahid’s call was a decision by the Umno Supreme Council, and as such had no effect on MPs from Umno who represent BN.
He said the 31 MPs acknowledged the prime minister’s royal audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, where it was agreed that a confidence vote would be tabled at the Dewan Rakyat next month.
“We the MPs are loyal to the Agong in his decree that anything to do with the government should be done in Parliament.
“We are of the view that all other matters are not in keeping with the Agong’s call, whether it is about submitting SDs, or taking actions that could topple the government before Parliament convenes,” said Ismail.
Umno had given its MPs until Aug 7 to state in writing whether they would continue to support the Perikatan Nasional administration or withdraw their support and resign from their positions in government.
This came after Zahid said on Tuesday that he had enough SDs from Umno MPs to topple Muhyiddin as prime minister.
However Muhyiddin said following an audience with the Agong the next day that he still commands the majority support in Parliament.
He also said that his position as prime minister would be determined through a vote of confidence at the Dewan Rakyat sitting in September.