What’s next for Malaysia and Muhyiddin?

A political expert says the politicking has to stop if Malaysia wants to win the battle against Covid-19.

This despite the political imbroglio in the country as opposition MPs stood in solidarity at Dataran Merdeka this morning, calling for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to step down.

The MPs had earlier tried to make their way to Parliament but were prevented from doing so by police. They gathered at Dataran Merdeka and walked towards Parliament but were once again stopped.

Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk said Malaysia requires political stability and changing the prime minister right now would not help.

Azeem, who is USM’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies director, spoke to Twentytwo13 on what’s next for the country and Muhyiddin.

Should the prime minister fear for his job after last week’s royal rebuke

Azeem: The only way for a sitting prime minister to lose his job is if he resigned or if a vote of no confidence is passed in Parliament. Neither is likely to happen any time soon (as the next Parliamentary sitting is on Sept 6). Although the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah) confirmed he did not consent to the revocation of the Emergency ordinances and registered his displeasure, in no way was he saying he wanted to remove the prime minister. The Agong doesn’t have the power to sack a sitting prime minister.

Why is that so?
Azeem: Malaysia adopts a constitutional monarchy, not an absolute one. The power of a constitutional monarch is limited by the Constitution. A constitutional monarch reigns but doesn’t rule. A constitutional monarch can only act on the advice of the prime minister. The Agong has some degree of flexibility in terms of getting advice from other ministries and government officials, but ultimately, he has to act on the advice of the prime minister. Overstepping that boundary is unconstitutional and dangerous to Malaysia.

So, it doesn’t matter if opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim goes and sees the Agong and says he has the numbers to form a new government?
Azeem: The opposition leader needs to prove he has the numbers in the House. Muhyiddin may not have the majority of the MPs on his side, but he can still rule as the leader of a minority government. Because no one is sure who really has the majority of MPs on their side, this issue will continue to crop up from time to time.

So how can this matter be resolved?
Azeem: This political problem can only be resolved through an election. Anyone can say they have the numbers, but they need to prove it in Parliament. But getting a vote of no confidence is next to impossible as the private bill would not be prioritised.

What’s next, then?
Azeem: Malaysia needs some form of political stability – for another year or so. Get the Covid-19 numbers down, and ensure all Malaysians are vaccinated. A coalition government is possible provided all parties are sincere.

What should the opposition do?
Azeem: The best strategy is to be a strong opposition until the next elections. That will give some stability to the country. Our priority should be battling Covid-19. Changing the government of the day will not solve the problem. I’m worried about how long we, as a nation, can last on subsidies. If the government and the people are not earning enough income, the prospects do not look good for Malaysia next year.

Here are Twentytwo13’s news highlights today.

SENIOR CITIZENS NATIONWIDE CAN WALK IN TO RECEIVE COVID-19 VACCINES STARTING NEXT WEEK

Coordinating Minister for the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme Khairy Jamaluddin said Malaysian senior citizens aged 60 and above would be able to walk into designated vaccination centres to receive the Covid-19 vaccines nationwide, starting next week.

At a press conference today, the Science, Technology and Innovation minister also said three million senior citizens had received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 2.25 million had completed both doses.

He, however, warned there could be even more positive cases in the Klang Valley due to the increase in the RTK-antigen test kits, and the Health Ministry’s push to get more people to undergo self-tests.

Malaysia today recorded 15,764 new cases, with Selangor registering 6,067 new infections. Kuala Lumpur had 1,536, while there were 46 new cases in Putrajaya.

UMNO TO HOLD SPECIAL VIRTUAL SUPREME COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan, said the party would hold a virtual Supreme Council meeting tomorrow afternoon.

The main topic on the agenda is the latest political developments, including the controversial announcement of the ending of the Emergency Ordinance.

SARAWAK ELECTION TO BE HELD 60 DAYS AFTER REVOCATION OF EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION

Election Commission (EC) secretary Datuk Ikmalrudin Ishak said the Sarawak State Election would be held within 60 days from the date the Emergency Proclamation for Sarawak is revoked or annulled.

The EC he said, had taken note of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s statement on July 31 on the Emergency Proclamation by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Ikmalrudin said the declaration of the proclamation by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was made in accordance with Clause (1) of Article 150 of the Federal Constitution to suspend the state election, and that this proclamation, shall extend throughout the State of Sarawak from Aug 2, 2021, to Feb 2, 2022.

GRANDAD CHARGED WITH SEXUALLY ASSAULTING GRANDKIDS

A 62-year-old man pleaded not guilty in the Seremban Sessions Court to two charges of sexually assaulting his two granddaughters, aged eight and 10, last year.

The man allegedly committed the offence at a house in a Felda settlement near Seremban at 11pm between August, and September.

Sessions judge Diana Md Razali allowed the accused bail of RM8,000 with one surety, and prohibited him from going near the victims. The case has been fixed for mention on Sept 2.