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Ismail attacks Cabinet members for letter to Agong

The prime minister says Parliament was dissolved to 'prevent an outbreak of disharmony' within the government.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks in a special address in Putrajaya yesterday to announce the dissolution of Parliament. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaks in a special address in Putrajaya yesterday to announce the dissolution of Parliament. Photo: Bernama

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob today pointed the finger at the 12 Perikatan Nasional (PN) ministers in his Cabinet who had written to the king in opposition to a snap election, a day after Sultan Abdullah Sultan Abdullah Shah said he had no choice but to consent to the request to dissolve Parliament. 

In a statement, Ismail said the dissolution of Parliament was done to put a stop to those questioning the legitimacy of the so-called backdoor government by returning the mandate to the people. 

"It was also part of a string of political developments whereby the 12 ministers behaved inappropriately by writing to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong," he said. 

"The dissolution was done to prevent an outbreak of disharmony in the administration of the government." 

MalaysiaNow reported on Oct 6 that Ismail's Cabinet members from Bersatu and PAS had written to Sultan Abdullah to express their opposition to calls by Umno leaders for the dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for a general election this year. 

They cited, among others, the Malaysian Meteorological Department's forecast of heavy rain and floods due to a monsoon transition in the weeks ahead, which could coincide with the general election season leading up to polling day if Parliament was dissolved in the near future.

They also called for a focus on economic recovery following more than two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The 15th general election was not due until next year, but Ismail had been under strong pressure from a group of Umno leaders aligned with party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to dissolve Parliament ahead of its expiry of term. 

Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (PH) had also strongly protested any move to call for polls, saying the focus should be on the economy as it recovers from the pandemic, as well as preparations for the annual floods, which last year claimed scores of lives and left billions of ringgit in property losses.

The six states under PH, Bersatu and PAS rule later said that they would not dissolve their state assemblies in tandem with the dissolution of Parliament.

They said elections at the state level would only be called next year so that authorities could prioritise flood preparations.

In his statement today, Ismail said that by going to the king, the ministers had turned their backs on the institution of the prime minister, whose appointment he added had been approved by the Agong.

He also said that the move had eroded the spirit of solidarity in the administration of government. 

"Even the move by PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, declaring Barisan Nasional as the main enemy of PN, has invited the seeds of division seeing that his party is also a member of the government," he said. 

Ismail also cited Muhyiddin's suggestion that it might be good to hold an election if the prime minister continued to fail in managing the economy and country well. 

"The government is only able to function properly through unity and agreement in providing the best services and benefits to the Malaysian Family," he said. 

"The country needs a stable government to face the challenges to come."