According to Malaysiakini (a reporting organization), Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin will retire on Monday after losing his majority in the ruling coalition due to infighting.
Muhyiddin’s resignation would bring an end to a difficult 17 months in government. Still, it would also add to Malaysia’s instability as it grapples with rising COVID-19 cases and a slump in the economy.
Given the lack of a clear majority in parliament, it was unclear who could form the next administration or whether elections could be held during the pandemic.
What happens next would be decided by the constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah Muhyiddin will submit his resignation to the king on Monday, according to Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, a minister in the prime minister’s department.
After exhausted all possible alternatives for keeping the government afloat, Muhyiddin told party members of his decision to resign.
Muhyiddin’s hold on power has been shaky since he was elected with a razor-thin majority in March 2020.
Lately, pressure on him has increased as some lawmakers from the ruling alliance’s largest group, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), withdrew their support.
On Friday, Muhyiddin conceded for the first time that he lacked a majority and made a last-ditch effort to attract the opposition by promising political and electoral reforms in exchange for confidence vote support. The offer was unanimously rejected.
The king has the constitutional power to appoint a prime minister from among elected lawmakers based on who he thinks can command a majority.
Who can be the next PM?
From independence until its election defeat in 2018, UMNO, Malaysia’s “grand old party,” ruled the country for more than 60 years, until overwhelming corruption charges forced it to resign.
Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and senior politician Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, both from the UMNO party, are potential candidates for the premiership or interim prime ministership. Anwar Ibrahim, the leader of the opposition, might also lay a claim.
As part of Muhyiddin’s alliance, it regained power in 2020. It is the coalition’s largest bloc, although it did not hold the position of prime minister, which contributed to the alliance’s infighting.
Muhyiddin has claimed that the latest unrest is due to his failure to accept demands, including dismissing corruption accusations against specific individuals.
Former Prime Minister Najib Razak and UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are among the UMNO politicians accused of graft. They have denied misconduct and were among those who abandoned Muhyiddin earlier this month.
After months of political upheaval that ended in losing his majority, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has handed in his resignation to the monarch but will continue to serve as interim prime minister, the palace announced on Monday.
According to the palace, an election was not the best option, and King Al-Sultan Abdullah was content for Muhyiddin to continue as the caretaker.
“The king has received Muhyiddin Yassin’s and the full cabinet’s resignation letters, which are effective immediately,” the statement said.
“The monarch is pleased that Muhyiddin will serve as caretaker prime minister until a new prime minister is appointed following the resignation.”
Muhyiddin later said he tendered his resignation to the monarch because he had lost the trust of many MPs in a nationally televised speech, adding that he hoped an establishment of a new government as quickly as possible.