| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Malaysian Premier faces calls to resign after palace rebuke

Following the king’s condemnation of the government’s handling of emergency legislation, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin faced calls to quit from the opposition and the ruling coalition’s largest group on Thursday.

Muhyiddin’s government said earlier this week that all regulations enacted since a nationwide state of emergency was declared in January were canceled on July 21.

On the suggestion of Muhyiddin, King Al-Sultan Abdullah declared a state of emergency to stop the spread of COVID-19. However, critics have lambasted the action, accusing the prime minister of clinging to power despite a tiny majority.

Since taking power in March 2020, Muhyiddin has governed with a razor-thin majority and headed an insecure ruling coalition.

The repeal of the ordinances, the palace stated in a statement on Thursday, was done without the king’s assent and thus went against the federal constitution and legal norms.

“His Majesty is of the opinion that, as head of state, he has the responsibility to provide advise and criticism if an act by any party contravenes the Federal Constitution, particularly in carrying out His Majesty’s tasks and powers as King,” the palace stated.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in which the king has a largely ceremonial role, carrying out his duties on advice from the prime minister and cabinet. But the monarch also has the power to decide if an emergency should be declared.

The UMNO party, the biggest bloc in the ruling alliance, called on Muhyiddin to resign for disobeying the king’s decree to debate the emergency ordinances in parliament and revoking them without his consent.

“This was a clear act of treason towards the King, and goes against the principles of the Federal Constitution,” UMNO president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said in a statement.

Muhyiddin’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim told a news conference at parliament that he had filed a motion of no confidence in Muhyiddin’s leadership, and claimed a majority of lawmakers no longer supported the prime minister.

  • Reuters