KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 ― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it has become essential for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to prove he still commanded the majority support needed to remain the prime minister.
The former PM said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s claim of securing the support needed to be the next prime minister was an ancillary issue, which he said was up to the latter to demonstrate.
Dr Mahathir said he was always convinced that Muhyiddin never possessed majority support in Parliament despite being appointed as the prime minister in March.
“The public knows that the majority commanded by Muhyiddin before this is narrow ― between one or two lawmakers only.
“So, if one or two Umno MPs retract their support, Muhyiddin will lose his majority,” said Dr Mahathir.
In May, Dr Mahathir succeeded in submitting a motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin but this never saw the light of day as the parliamentary meeting then was shortened to just a single day while the Speaker who accepted this was subsequently removed.
Today, the former PM reiterated his conclusion yesterday that Muhyiddin could no longer claim to possess majority support following Barisan Nasional chairman Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s statement that some of the coalition’s MPs backed Anwar’s takeover bid.
Dr Mahathir said the crisis now stemmed from Muhyiddin’s refusal to allow his true level of support to be tested by the former’s motion of no-confidence.
To date, Muhyiddin’s majority has been based on the two-vote margin with which his Perikatan Nasional managed to remove and replace Tan Sri Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof as the Speaker along with his deputies.
“If Muhyiddin managed to defeat the motion of no-confidence, then this matter of his majority support would not have cropped up again,” Dr Mahathir added.
He also rejected the argument that a successful motion of no-confidence against Muhyiddin would have forced Malaysia into a general election in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, saying a replacement could also have been decided through a vote of confidence in Parliament.
Warisan president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had submitted just such a motion to accompany Dr Mahathir’s own, but Ariff rejected this on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
While Dr Mahathir’s motion technically remains on the parliamentary agenda, the PN government has effectively buried it by listing it after all government matters. This would exhaust all sitting time before the vote of no-confidence can reach the floor of the House.
In a previous blog posting, Dr Mahathir insisted that Muhyiddin’s appointment as the prime minister without either a general election or a vote of confidence in Parliament was unconstitutional.
He added that the apparent withdrawal of Umno’s support for Muhyiddin was something he predicted from the very beginning, which he said was why he was adamant about not working with the Malay nationalist party that he said was tainted with corrupt leaders.
Dr Mahathir said Muhyiddin’s untenable position was demonstrated when Umno and Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s supporters expressed discontentment after the latter’s conviction on all seven charges in his SRC International corruption trial.
After Najib’s conviction, Zahid announced that Umno would not formally enter the PN coalition.
“Today, it is clear that what I predicted would happen is happening, when Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi made that statement yesterday confirming that Umno's support (for Muhyiddin) was conditional,” he said.
He then warned that the same would happen if Anwar comes to a similar arrangement with Umno.
“Although Anwar said he is not accepting the support of the six (Umno) MPs who are facing charges in court, it is certain that those who render their support for Anwar would be more loyal to Najib and Zahid.
“If both of their (Umno) leaders' wishes are not met, they would react this (support) just as how they are now treating Muhyiddin, withdrawing the support and bringing down his government,” Dr Mahathir said.
In the chaos following Dr Mahathir’s unforced resignation as prime minister in February, Bersatu and a faction of PKR cooperated with Umno, PAS, and Sarawak-based parties to convince the Agong that they could form the new government.
Yang diPertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah appointed Muhyididn as the prime minister despite Dr Mahathir’s attempt to be reappointed to the position.
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