KOMPAS.com – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has handed his resignation to the king but will stay on as interim premier, the palace said, after months of political turmoil culminated in the loss of his majority.
Muhyiddin’s hand had been weakened by months of infighting in his coalition and it is unclear if the developments will ease Malaysia's political crisis after a tumultuous 17 months in office.
The palace said an election was not the best option and King Al-Sultan Abdullah was happy for Muhyiddin to stay on as caretaker.
Later, in a nationally televised speech, Muhyiddin said he submitted his resignation to the king because he had lost the confidence of a majority of Members of Parliament, adding that he hoped a new government would be formed as soon as possible.
The government, which took power in March 2020, has faced pressure from the opposition and the public angered by its Covid-19 management.
The king said it was not suitable to hold elections during a pandemic. Malaysia's infections and fatality rates per million people are the highest in Southeast Asia.
Muhyiddin's grip on power has been precarious since he took office last year with a slim majority.
“Muhyiddin has been ruling on borrowed time. His poor governance, focus on survival politics, and unwillingness to acknowledge his failings have led to his undoing,” said Bridget Welsh of the Malaysia’s University of Nottingham, an expert in Malaysian politics.
“The focus now is on Malaysia having a peaceful transition to a new government that can manage the crisis,” she said.
Pressure on him mounted recently after some politicians from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party, the largest bloc in the ruling alliance, withdrew support.
Muhyiddin had said the recent crisis was brought on by his refusal to meet demands including the dropping of corruption charges against some individuals.
UMNO politicians, including former premier Najib Razak and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, are facing graft charges.
They have denied wrongdoing and were among those who withdrew support for Muhyiddin this month.
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