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Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin attends the second day sitting of the Special Meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, July 27, 2021. — Bernama pic
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin attends the second day sitting of the Special Meeting of the Third Session of the 14th Parliament at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, July 27, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin must seek a vote of confidence in the Dewan Rakyat or resign following the withdrawal of government support from several Umno MPs yesterday, the electoral reform activist Bersih 2.0 said today.

In its statement today, the watchdog stated that it is irresponsible to prolong the political instability and deny Malaysians a functioning government while the country faces a raging pandemic and an ailing economy.

“If Muhyiddin believes he can still command a majority, he must convene the Dewan Rakyat and table a motion of confidence in himself immediately, notwithstanding the widely disputed proposal of 14-day suspension by the Health director-general.

“If Muhyiddin fails to prove his majority and refuses to resign, he should be dismissed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to pave the way for the appointment of a new Prime Minister, as per Article 43(2a) of the Federal Constitution,” the group said.

This comes after Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed that enough of the party’s federal lawmakers have signed a declaration to withdraw its support for Muhyiddin and the PN government.

In expressing the unanimous decision by the party’s supreme council, Zahid had accused Muhyiddin and his government of defying and belittling the Yang di-Pertuan Agong by failing to abide by his decree that the Emergence Ordinances be tabled for debate in both Houses of Parliament.

Bersih 2.0 said the Agong should exercise his discretionary power under Article 40(2) of the Federal Constitution to reach out to political leaders of major parties to determine if any have obtained a viable majority if Muhyiddin resigned or was dismissed.

At the same time, it also urged all parties to protect the institution of constitutional monarchy by not pressuring the Palace to act in any way different from what is expected under the Federal Constitution and Westminster constitutional conventions.

However, the group pointed out that the process of forming a government should be party-based in the initial stage despite the need for a new government to be tested through a vote of confidence after it is sworn in, as individual MPs may act independently from their party’s position.

“If every MP is called in, this will only raise the likelihood of seat-buying, prolonging the political stalemate, putting the country’s governance on an auto-pilot mode, ultimately undermining the legitimacy of parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy,” it said.

It also urged the bureaucracy, the police, and the military to observe absolute neutrality while the elected political leaders negotiate on a new government formation or retention, before suggesting that any partisan act may invite subsequent retribution in the future.

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