Mar 04 2020
As expected, the next Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Representative) sitting, scheduled to meet on March 9, has been postponed to May 18 under the instruction of newly crowned Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Essentially, that means the 72-year-old premier was sworn in without the necessary 112 minimum seats required to form a simple majority government in the 222-seat Parliament.
The refusal of Muhyiddin, whom former premier Mahathir Mohamad has claimed as the traitor who launched a coup to topple Pakatan Harapan government, to face the House also means his government faces the legitimacy issue. The deliberate delay is seen as an attempt to buy more time to bribe Member of Parliaments (MPs) who had not already supported him in a coup last week.
Therefore, between now and May 18, many MPs will be instant multi-millionaires as Muhyiddin cannot afford the humiliation of being mocked as the shortest-serving prime minister in Malaysia’s history. He only commanded 114-majority support in the Parliament. But even that number can be disputed as his former boss Mahathir had claimed he too has 114 MPs behind him.
Before he was sworn in, his so-called Perikatan Nasional coalition’s 114-majority came from his own party Bersatu (25 MPs), Azmin and his gang of traitors (11 MPs), oppositions Barisan Nasional (a coalition of UMNO’s 39 MPs, MCA’s 2 MPs plus MIC’s 1 MP) and PAS (18 MPs) and Sarawak-based GPS (18 MPs). Interestingly, GPS said it will only be a Perikatan Nasional-friendly party.
However, Muhyiddin was believed to have had included every single MP in his party during his audience with the country’s Agong (King), when in fact at least 3 of them (Mahathir, his son Mukhriz, and Syed Saddiq) did not sign any statutory declarations (SD) at all – leaving Muhyiddin with 111 MPs at best. To prove his claim, Mahathir had published a list of names of the 114 MPs behind him.
So far, it has been established that six of Bersatu MPs – Mukhriz, Mahathir, Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, Simpang Renggam MP Dr Maszlee Malik, Kuala Pilah MP Eddin Syazlee Shith, and Kubang Pasu MP Amiruddin Hamzah – are with Mahathir. This further reduced Muhyiddin support to merely 108 MPs, less than the 112 votes required to form a government.
In contrast, neither Muhyiddin nor the Palace has disclosed in details of the 114 MPs allegedly supporting the premier – either before or after the swearing-in. This has led to belief that the new prime minister was indeed bogus and had scammed his way through to the Palace. In fact, with the exception of Indonesia and Singapore, not a single Western country has recognised the new government.
Ties between Singapore and Malaysia were rocky under Mahathir’s past two administrations – first from 1981 to 2003 and subsequently from May 2018 until the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government last week. Naturally, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quick to congratulate Muhyiddin Yassin, whom Singapore considers as friendlier and easier to deal with.
The legitimacy of Muhyiddin government, like it or not, depends heavily on the Western countries, especially the United States, United Kingdom, European Union and even China. Immediately after Mahathir was sworn-in on May 10, 2018 as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia, the U.S., UK, EU and China congratulated and recognised his government the very next day (May 11).
Since Muhyiddin took his oath of office at Istana Negara (Palace) on March 1, there has been no indication that America, Britain, Europe or China will endorse his regime. And it’s not hard to figure out why congratulatory notes have yet to arrive for the Malaysian leader, arguably the first prime minister who squeezed into power as a backdoor government.
Without proving he has the numbers in the Parliament, it would make the foreign powerful and influential countries look like a fool for hastily recognizing Muhyiddin in the eventuality his regime suddenly collapses. After all, he snatched the power through a coup de grâce, not through the ballot box. He got the throne through seizure of power by working with crooks, not through democracy.
To add salt to injury, the undemocratic coup caught the attention of the Guardian, a British daily newspaper that went as far as calling the latest political development a “Royal Coup” – suggesting that the Malaysian monarch was somehow involved in returning the extremely corrupted UMNO political party, which until the May 2018 General Election, had ruled for 61 years since independence in 1957.
The Guardian appeared to be questioning the legitimacy of Muhyiddin by virtue of the monarch’s refusal to meet Mahathir to ascertain the 94-year-old former premier’s claim made at the eleventh hour that he had the crucial 114 MPs support to form the government. At the epicentre of the fears are the prospect of Muhyiddin, in his desperation to stay in power, will release Najib Razak.
Former PM Najib is facing 42 counts of corruption and money laundering charges in relation to 1MDB scandal...
It was no-brainer from the start. If Muhyiddin does not interfere with the judicial system to release all the UMNO crooks currently on trial, his government will definitely collapse due to its razor-thin majority. A Member of Parliament will be disqualified if he / she has been convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to one year’s imprisonment or a fine of RM2000 or more.
In his inaugural speech titled “An Appeal to Malaysians” aired over all local television networks on Tuesday (March 3), PM Muhyiddin tries to convince the people who are still horrified and angered over the coup that he would combat corruption and abuse of power. Hilariously, if he does exactly that, he will lose power. His empty rhetoric should be taken with a pinch of salt.