KUALA LUMPUR,. The resignation of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his Cabinet has shoved Malaysia into a political quagmire at a time when the nation is battling the COVID-19 pandemic and facing economic uncertainties.
Rumours of Muhyiddin’s possible resignation had been circulating in the past few days, this after 15 UMNO members of parliament withdrew their support for the Perikatan Nasional (PN).
In addition, Muhyiddin’s proposal for cross-party cooperation with the PN government to address the COVID-19 crisis was also not welcomed by the Opposition parties, which inadvertently showed that he had lost the majority support of MPs.
Speculations of an impending resignation grew stronger yesterday after a Bersatu Supreme Council member revealed that Muhyiddin would be making a special address today, which then led to newsmen camping at the gates of the Pagoh MP’s residence, the Prime Minister’s Office and Istana Negara to report the latest updates.
Muhyiddin, when leaving his residence in Bukit Damansara at 7.42 am for the Perdana Putra building, Putrajaya to chair the last special cabinet meeting, even waved at media personnel.
He was then seen leaving the government administrative complex to head to Istana Negara, where he was granted an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
Earlier, vehicles carrying the Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, Attorney-General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Inspector -General of Police Datuk Seri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani and Election Commission (EC) Chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh were also seen entering Istana Negara.
And while there was intense speculation by Malaysians on what had transpired in these meetings, several Cabinet ministers ‘pre-empted’ the official announcement by bidding ‘farewell’ via social media not long after the eighth Prime Minister had his audience with Al-Sultan Abdullah.
Muhyiddin officially announced his resignation later in a special address at 3 pm aired by several television stations.
Istana Negara also issued a statement, saying that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had consented to receive the resignation letter from Muhyiddin and his entire Cabinet which took effect today.
Al-Sultan Abdullah, who expressed appreciation to Muhyiddin and his Cabinet for their contribution in administering the country under Perikatan Nasional since March 1, 2020, especially in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, also consented to Muhyiddin acting as caretaker Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is appointed.
His Majesty also expressed hope that the endless political turmoil which had disrupted the government administration could be put to an end for the wellbeing of the people and the country’s economy which had been badly affected by Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Mohd Zuki in a statement said the civil service will not be affected by the current political situation in the country, adding that civil servants would continue to carry out the duties entrusted to them as enshrined in the Federal Constitution.
Acryl Sani, meanwhile, said the country’s security and public order are under control in light of the current political situation.
Bursa Malaysia pared most of its earlier losses at the close of trading today amid the ongoing political developments, with key index remaining above the psychological 1,500-point level.
The benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) fell 2.21 points to end the day at its intraday high of 1,502.90 from Friday’s close of 1,505.11.
Muhyiddin was sworn in as Prime Minister on March 1, 2020 after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned on Feb 24 the same year.