Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be putting himself through a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat when it convenes this September.
This is after a group of Umno MPs withdrew support for the prime minister.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is not quitting despite the pressure by Umno and other opposition parties for him to do so.
He said today that the issue of him resigning does not arise as he still enjoys sufficient support in the Dewan Rakyat.
Surrounded by a phalanx of ministers including Umno’s deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Muhyiddin said in a televised address that his government will table a motion of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat in September to test his majority.
The Pejuang bloc led by former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says it will not comment on developments sparked by Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s announcement that several MPs allied with him have revoked their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Instead, Pejuang president Mukhriz Mahathir issued a reminder to heed the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s call to focus on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Indeed, that is what Pejuang had intended when it proposed the National Recovery Council by mobilising experts to focus on solving the problems,” he said in a statement.
Earlier today, Zahid said he had enough statutory declarations from MPs who had revoked their support for Muhyiddin, which would be submitted to the Agong.
He said this showed that Muhyiddin had lost the majority as well as his legitimacy as head of the government.
Political analysts and observers have questioned the likelihood of Muhyiddin Yassin losing power once Parliament reconvenes, despite his fragile majority and the revelation of fresh talks between key opposition leaders in the wake of a series of royal audiences with politicians last week.
Not only does the opposition still lack the numbers needed to form the government, they say, there are also procedural realities which would take time for Parliament to reconvene before any attempt to dislodge the prime minister can be initiated.
“There will be no vote of no confidence unless the speaker agrees,” analyst James Chin told MalaysiaNow. “Only the speaker can bring the motion to vote – nobody else can do this.”
There has been a renewed buzz among some opposition leaders of a possible change of government following what is seen as pressure from the palace on Putrajaya to reconvene Dewan Rakyat sittings, suspended since January under the virus emergency.
MalaysiaNow recently reported that fresh talks had been held between PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim and a group of Umno MPs led by their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak.
It was also revealed that a long delayed agreement to form an alliance was set to be inked between the two parties in the coming days.
But Chin is not convinced that Muhyiddin can be overthrown.
He doubts that Anwar will be able to obtain the numbers – support from at least 111 MPs based on the current composition of the Dewan Rakyat – to oust the prime minister.
He said Muhyiddin still has at least 90 MPs with him.
“So he only needs another 20 behind him. Also bear in mind that Umno is split,” Chin said.
While it is hard to tell where MPs stand, it is believed that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) ruling coalition comprises 50 seats from Bersatu, PAS and STAR, as well as 62 more from Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Barisan Nasional, PBS and several independent MPs.
The opposition meanwhile is made up of several blocs, mainly Pakatan Harapan, Sabah’s Warisan and smaller groups such as former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Pejuang and the new party of former minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Lee Kuok Tiung agreed that Anwar still lacks the numbers needed to topple the PN government.
“Within Umno, we can see portions of them who believe in political stability,” said the Universiti Malaysia Sabah academic.
“Even Nazri Aziz recently issued a statement saying that MPs should not talk about elections but focus on the people’s welfare and tackling the pandemic,” Lee said, referring to the Padang Rengas MP from Umno who earlier this year revoked his support for Muhyiddin.
Sarawak political analyst Jeniri Amir meanwhile expressed doubts about any plan to topple the government, saying there would be consequences on the personal as well as party and national levels.
He agreed that the reopening of Parliament would provide the necessary checks and balance to the government’s policies in battling the pandemic.
“Parliament would be the best platform for MPs to debate the measures proposed by the government and to voice out the aspirations of the people during this difficult time.
PBS now invites Warisan to join Perikatan
After welcoming overtures from Parti Warisan Sabah, Parti Bersatu Sabah president Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili has invited the Opposition party to work with the state Perikatan Nasional coalition.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Sabah and Sarawak Affairs’ offer comes after he previously responded positively to his Warisan counterpart expressing a desire for their political cooperation.
“So it is my pleasure, as the PBS president, to extend an invitation to Warisan to consider participating in PN, either as member or partner. PBS is happy to become a host or sponsor Warisan to be part of the PN coalition. Come, work with us under PN,” he added.
Ongkili also said that his recent statement welcoming Warisan’s overture and openness to working with any party had surprised some because it was misread and intentionally twisted to create confusion.
“My actual intention was to express the party’s openness to the opposition, especially Parti Warisan, to cooperate with the state and federal governments to achieve our common development goals for the good of Sabah and Sabahans,” he said.
The Kota Marudu member of parliament said it was only right to respond with civility to Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal’s gesture, noting that it was made during the month of Ramadan and that political cooperation was key in the state’s development.
“I did not say more than to express the openness to cooperation. After all, it was Warisan who extended the hand of friendship and cooperation in the first place, and Shafie did it during the season of Ramadan, a season to make friends so it is only proper for us to express a similar gesture for the sake of friendship.
“It does not necessarily mean that we have to form a coalition, or alliance. PBS’ intention was to extend friendship and cooperation with Warisan at the Perikatan Nasional level,” Ongkili said.
Outside of this, Ongkili said it would be difficult for PBS and Warisan to form a new alliance or any type of coalition because of their differing identities and political roles.
“PBS has always been known to champion issues on the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), people’s security and illegal immigration, and became the party’s identity since its formation 36 years ago.
“Together we can cooperate to spread these noble goals and strengthen the wider objectives of PN. And I am confident that Warisan can contribute to the achievement of its national aspirations,” said Ongkili.
Ongkili’s statement also comes after a two-hour Aidilfitri courtesy call on chief minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor last night, also attended by three PBS Deputy Presidents Datuk Seri Radin Malleh, Datuk Jahid Jahim and Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Vice President Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam and Secretary-General Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
“During the call, our discussions touched on many issues concerning GRS, matters of state government and administration, especially on Covid-19 and economy.
“We also assured him that PBS will give full support to the chief minister’s leadership, and that the party machinery will give full cooperation to the implementation of the Sabah Maju Jaya development and strategies,” said Ongkili.
Shafie’s open invite to PBS, saying that he would love to work with the party because of its long time struggles and identity, has caused rumours of a power shift as well as some criticism from parties.
The party had to shut down rumours of a potential alliance while Hajiji and Sabah Umno chief Datuk Bung Moktar Radin also issued statements insisting that the GRS government remains stable and unrattled by the offer.
The GRS government has a comfortable majority of 48 in the 79 seat state assembly. Warisan and its partners have 30 seats.