Muhyiddin offers olive branch, promises reforms

Muhyiddin Yassin

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday said he could not resign because no one else commanded the majority to replace him.

He said a government was needed to ensure that the ongoing Covid-19 vaccination programme continued as scheduled.

He also appealed to the opposition to back him in the coming confidence vote and he promised a slew of reforms.

He promised, among others:

  • Bi-partisan consultation for supply (budget) bills.
  • Implementation of Undi18 without waiting for automatic registration.
  • Laws to prevent defection of lawmakers.
  • Term limits for prime minister.
  • Annual allocation for all MPs.
  • Half of the select committees are to be headed by the opposition.
  • Opposition leader to be treated as a senior cabinet minister.

Some of the proposed reforms – term limits for the prime minister and the “anti-hopping” law – will require constitutional amendments, he said.

Muhyiddin said he envisaged a government that is more stable and inclusive after the confidence vote.

“The purpose of my proposal is to allow the government to function during a pandemic through bi-partisan support in Parliament.

“I will invite all political party leaders to discuss this proposal next week … I am ready to listen to their feedback on these proposals,” he said.

Should a deal be struck, Muhyiddin said he will call for a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat.

“I promise that I will act honourably and constitutionally to resolve this political crisis.

“My priority is only to ensure the government continues to function, handle the pandemic and resuscitate the country,” he added.

Muhyiddin’s olive branch came at a time when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is attempting to independently evaluate whether the former still commanded support from the majority.

Under Article 43 of the Federal Constitution, a prime minister that ceases command of the majority has to resign unless the Agong agrees to dissolve Parliament.

As of Aug 9, Muhyiddin is believed to command the support of 100 MPs – 11 short of a simple majority – after Umno officially withdrew support.

Two Umno MPs have left his cabinet. Twelve others have withdrawn support.