All eyes are now on today’s cabinet meeting as under fire Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin attempts to maintain his shaky hold on power following the withdrawal of support to his government by more than 10 Umno MPs.
Muhyiddin Yassin arrived at the Istana Negara for an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, with his vehicle entering the main gate of the palace at 10.53 am.
Such an audience is standard practice prior to cabinet meetings. He is usually accompanied by other important figures such as Attorney-General Idrus Harun, whose car was seen entering the Istana grounds earlier this morning.
The cabinet meeting is expected to start at noon, later than usual, according to sources.
Given the withdrawal of support by Umno MPs, Umno supreme council member Ahmad Shabery Cheek predicted an awkward audience as Muhyiddin may have to decide whether to resign, stay on as a caretaker prime minister until fresh elections can be held, or run a minority government.
DAP’s Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang also called for an August 16 deadline for Muhyiddin to both repeal the Emergency Ordinances and to prove his majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
This follows an eventful period in which Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, in a press conference held after an Umno supreme council meeting yesterday evening, announced the party’s decision to withdraw their support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and Muhyiddin.
Showcasing a total of 11 MPs, including himself, Zahid said he had presented to the king “enough numbers” to prove that Muhyiddin no longer commands the majority of support from parliamentarians.
The MPs included Najib Abdul Razak (Pekan), Azalina Othman Said (Pengerang), Mohd Nizar Zakaria (Parit), Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling), Noh Omar (Tanjung Karang), Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (Bagan Datuk), Ahmad Nazlan Idris (Jerantut), Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub (Machang), Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah (Gua Musang), Ramli Mohd Nor (Cameron Highlands), and Ahmad Maslan (Pontian).
Zahid claimed this means the PN government led by Muhyiddin has now lost its legitimacy.
Sources told Malaysiakini that the number of Umno MPs could go up to 14, and Lenggong MP Shamsul Anuar Nasarah promptly resigned as energy and natural resources minister in the PN cabinet.
According to sources, more ministerial resignations may follow.
However, Umno MP Zahidi Zainul Abidin, who is also deputy minister of communications and multimedia, has claimed that the PN government remains intact.
He said this to reporters at the Seri Pacific Hotel in Kuala Lumpur after a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Umno MPs aligned to PN, which ended close to 2am this morning. MKINI
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MKINI