Earth-shattering day for Muhyiddin

A POLITICAL earthquake – that is the only way to describe what happened on Tuesday (Aug 3).

It looks like the end has finally come for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after 11 Umno MPs pulled out support for his Perikatan Nasional government.

The pull-out threat was something that Umno had been holding like a knife to Muhyiddin’s throat for more than a year.

Yet, it sent shockwaves all over when it finally happened.

The question on everyone’s lips is, of course, whether Muhyiddin will fight back or if he will accept the claim that he has lost the majority.

The other question is whether his government will also disintegrate or if it will hold together and rally behind a new prime minister.

To add to the drama, Lenggong MP Datuk Seri Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, had earlier in the afternoon resigned his Cabinet post, citing loyalty to his party.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi understood the significance of the moment.

He had the 11 MPs who support the pullout stand by him at the press conference when announcing the decision.

Among those present were party advisor Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Muhyiddin has never once revealed the number of MPs he has but it is understood that on a good day, he would easily have 114 MPs on the government bench.

However, the pull-out means that he is now dangling on with only 103 MPs.

“In my opinion, the PM has fallen because this, all along, has been an MPs game. But it is premature to talk about who will take over. We leave it to Yang Di Pertuan Agong to decide,” said Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Johari Ghani.

The Palace, according to Ahmad Zahid, has been informed about the Umno decision.

Muhyiddin can either take it upon himself to resign or wait for the King to call him to show whether he still has the support needed to stay on.

“He is still the sitting PM. It is up to him to show whether he still commands the majority,” said Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

Resigning is one of the options. Muhyiddin can test his support in a vote in Parliament or he could also decide to dissolve Parliament although that will require the consent of His Majesty.

In the event that he decides to call it a day, the King will have to go through the process of appointing a new prime minister from the party or coalition with the most numbers.

“I hope Malaysians will let Tuanku do his work without trouble. Give him the space to make a good decision,” said Mohamad, who is also Rantau assemblyman.

The Umno supreme council meeting which made this big decision had apparently gone on smoothly.

There were no outright objections to the pull-out although several members were concerned about the implications at this critical juncture of the pandemic.

A number of them also wanted to know what would happen next if the prime minister stepped down and the government collapsed.

“No one opposed the move to withdraw support. You have to understand that Umno will always stand by the Palace,” said a supreme council member.

The supreme council member also said that there was no discussion about who would take over from Muhyiddin.

Politics is such a treacherous sport because some of the 11 MPs who signed on for the pull-out had, on Sunday (Aug 1) night, signed support for Muhyiddin.

Umno would not have made such a bold statement if the party leaders were not sure about where the Palace stood with Muhyiddin.

There are suggestions that Umno realised that relations between the Palace and the prime minister had reached a point of no return.

“Trust between the sovereign and the PM is crucial for a government to run smoothly,” said Johari.

The concern among many people, especially the business community, is who will take over.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob would surely be in the running if the current government does not fall apart.

For that to happen, Ismail Sabri will need to persuade the Bersatu MPs to stay put and not leave in a huff.

Tengku Razleigh would also be a contender despite his age.

And, of course, there is Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who has claimed that he has 107 MPs, which is more than what Muhyiddin currently commands.

There are bound to be more aftershocks following today’s political earthquake. ANN

Tok Mat: Unanimous decision by supreme council for Umno to withdraw support for Perikatan govt

SEREMBAN: The emergency Umno supreme council meeting on Tuesday (Aug 3) evening decided unanimously to withdraw support for the Perikatan Nasional government, says Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.

The Umno deputy president said the meeting was cordial, with no disagreements or raised voices, and 54 of the 56 supreme council members were present.

“The decision was unanimous… no one disagreed or objected (to withdraw support for Perikatan Nasional).

“As far as I am concerned we were all on the same page and spoke the same language,” he said when contacted Tuesday.

Among the absentees was Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, who is with the Malaysian contingent at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mohamad said no one was told that they must stop supporting Perikatan and Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

“We agreed that all members, including ministers and those holding positions, must toe the party line, what more with recent developments

“Now it is left to their conscience. We also agreed that our focus now should be the 15the general election,” he said.

Asked what the party’s next move was, Mohamad said this depended on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Asked if any member had raised concerns over the party’s decision, Mohamad said there were questions on what Umno would do next.

“Like I said, we decided that we shall leave this to the King’s wisdom,” he added.

Umno sec-gen Ahmad Maslan confirms signing SD withdrawing support for Perikatan govt

JOHOR BARU: Pontian MP Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has confirmed he is among those who signed statutory declarations (SD) retracting support for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.

In a tweet Tuesday (Aug 3) night, the Umno secretary-general said it was not a difficult decision for him to sign the SD that was handed to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

“Either I follow the King’s decree, uphold the Constitution and follow the party’s decision that was made on July 7 or I support Muhyiddin and go against the party. Obviously, I choose the former,” he tweeted.

Earlier, at a press conference, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there was an adequate number of SDs signed by Umno MPs who have retracted their support for Muhyiddin and the Perikatan Nasional government.

“This shows that Muhyiddin’s leadership has lost the majority and his legitimacy as the head of government is nullified,” Ahmad Zahid said.

The Umno president’s announcement comes as the latest blow to the Perikatan government, whose legitimacy is currently being disputed by Opposition MPs following the recent Royal rebuke on the revocation of the Emergency Ordinances.

There were 10 Umno MPs who stood behind Ahmad Zahid during the press conference, including Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Machang MP Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub, Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, Tanjong Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar, Ahmad, and Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, among others.

The others were Cameron Highlands MP Ramli Mohd Nor, Jerantut MP Datuk Ahmad Nazlan Idris, and Parit MP Datuk Mohd Nizar Zakaria.

Elaborating further, Ahmad Zahid said the Umno MPs who were present during the press conference were the ones who signed SDs to retract support for Muhyiddin as prime minister.

“For the purposes of legitimacy, together with me are the MPs who have signed SDs and there are a few MPs who could not be here because they are in their respective constituencies, for example, in Sabah.”

He said he will present the remaining SDs, which he had acquired, to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in an audience at a later date.

“I will present the remaining SDs in an audience with the King at a later date,” he said briefly.