Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today said he would never interfere in the running of the judiciary to save politicians who are facing multiple corruption charges.
He said his decision to step down from the top office today was caused by a group of people whom he said prioritise their political power over the welfare of the people.
“I will never conspire with a kleptocratic group,” he said, in a reference to the group of Umno MPs led by former leader Najib Razak and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who led some 15 MPs to withdraw their support for him.
He said it was clear that he no longer commanded the majority support of MPs after the withdrawal of backing from the MPs aligned with Zahid, as well as the rejection of a cross-party consensus he had offered to the opposition.
“This is demanded by the constitution, and I must abide by it,” he said, adding that he had taken an oath to defend the constitution.
He said he would not sacrifice principles, and recalled how he was dismissed from office under the Najib administration for questioning the then-prime minister’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal.
“I struggled and made sacrifices, and in the end God rewarded my struggle and gave me the mandate to lead this country.
“But it is fated that today is my last day as prime minister, and I accept divine providence.”
Muhyiddin today submitted his resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. Hours later, Istana Negara announced his appointment as caretaker prime minister.
A vote of confidence in Muhyiddin had been scheduled to take place in the Dewan Rakyat on Sept 7, after the MPs aligned with Zahid withdrew their support for him.
Muhyiddin said then that he had letters of support from MPs showing that he still commands the majority support.
He also suggested that the opposition to him by some Umno MPs was due to his refusal to interfere in their ongoing corruption cases.