One week of political turmoil starting with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation on February 24 has finally culminated in a decision from the Malaysian King.
On Saturday (Feb 29), Malaysian King Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah announced that Pagoh Member of Parliament Muhyiddin Yassin commanded majority support to form a government.
Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in this morning as Malaysia’s eighth PM.
The King’s decision comes after a series of interviews conducted over the past few days with representatives of political parties individually to identify where the majority support lies.
It was confirmed that Muhyiddin’s support came from lawmakers representing Barisan Nasional, PAS, several parties from Sabah and Sarawak, and his own, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).
Just hours before the announcement yesterday, former PM Dr Mahathir declared that he was hoping to prove with a vote in Parliament that he still had the 114 support necessary to form a government.
“We are going to see a man who does not have majority support become prime minister,” he said of the 72-year-old former Deputy PM during Najib Razak’s tenure.
Public sentiment has been one of disbelief and anger over feelings that voters have been robbed of their democratic rights.
To be fair, the true test of how stable and strong the new government is under Muhyiddin is in a vote of confidence in the next parliamentary sitting.
Until then, Malaysia’s spate of political crises is unlikely to end.
For now however, the ushering in of Muhyiddin marks the return of previous ruling coalition Barisan Nasional under a new guise – as Perikatan Nasional – along with a new alliance formed with Muslim hardline Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS).
A long-time member of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Muhyiddin was sacked from his position in 2015 after questioning funds related to former PM Najib’s corrupt 1MDB project.
He later banded together with Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim to form the opposition bloc responsible for Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) stunning victory against BN at the polls during the last general election.
Just one week ago, Muhyiddin was among the few PH MPs who attended the secretive meeting at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya to discuss the possibility of forming a backdoor government. Also in attendance were MPs from UMNO, PAS, and Azmin Ali’s splinter faction from Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).
During his 50-year political career, the new PM has held a variety of portfolios including as Najib’s Education Minister where he abolished the use of English in the teaching of Science and Mathematics in public schools.
Muhyiddin also once said, “I am a Malay first, I want to say that. But being Malay does not mean you are not a Malaysian” in response to opposition leader Lim Kit Siang’s questioning of his commitment to Najib’s 1Malaysia concept.
Photo taken from Muhyiddin Yassin’s Facebook page.