Malaysian PM Muhyiddin Quit As Governmental Crisis Escalates

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s Muhyiddin Yassin stepped down as prime minister on Monday after months of political turmoil culminated within the loss of his majority, but his resignation is probably going to open another chapter of instability within the absence of any obvious successor.

Muhyiddin’s resignation ends a tumultuous 17 months in office, the shortest stint of a Malaysian leader, but hampers efforts to reboot a pandemic-stricken economy and curb a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.

The Southeast Asian nation’s king appointed Muhyiddin because the caretaker prime minister until a replacement one is found, but didn’t set a timeline.

King Al-Sultan Abdullah ruled out elections due to the pandemic, saying he would invoke his constitutional power to appoint a major minister he believes is probably going to command a majority.

Malaysia’s ringgit currency fell to a one-year low on the news and therefore the stock exchange (.KLSE) slipped.

Muhyiddin said he resigned along side his cabinet after losing majority support in parliament. As caretaker, he added, he will haven’t any cabinet, but will perform executive functions and advise the king until a replacement prime minister is appointed.

I hope a replacement government are often formed immediately in order that the administration of this country isn’t disrupted,” he said during a televised speech.

“The next two months is crucial, as we expect to realize herd immunity in October,” Muhyiddin added.

Malaysia’s infections and deaths per million rank because the region’s highest within the pandemic.

It was not immediately clear who could form subsequent government, as no lawmaker features a clear majority in parliament. The opposition bloc and therefore the biggest party are split on support for his or her prime ministerial candidates.

“There is not any clear replacement, which raises uncertainty further, which means more economic stagnation,” said Trinh Nguyen, a senior economist at Natixis in Hong Kong , adding that political uncertainty had become the new normal in Malaysia.

A view of the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the National Palace for a gathering with the king, in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

A convoy with Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the National Palace for his meeting with the king, in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

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Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrives at the National Palace for a gathering with the king, in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia August 16, 2021. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

The financial institution slashed its 2021 outlook last week due to the disease resurgence and extended lockdowns. read more

Muhyiddin’s resignation is probably going to return the post to the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Malaysia’s ‘grand old party’, which was voted call at a 2018 election after being tarnished by graft accusations, though it remained influential.

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It was unclear if a replacement prime minister are often picked soon, said Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod, a law expert at International Islamic University of Malaysia.

“There is not any one currently who could command a majority, in order that they are now coercing one another to support the candidate that they’re asserting ,” he said.

The top contenders to be prime minister include Muhyiddin’s deputy Ismail Sabri Yaakob, veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former secretary of state Hishammuddin Hussein, all from UMNO.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could also stake a claim.

Muhyiddin’s grip on power had been precarious since he took office with a slim majority in March 2020, appointed by the king after joining hands with parties defeated within the 2018 polls, including UMNO.

But he has been beset by coalition infighting thanks to tension with UMNO, which balked at playing second fiddle, and recently withdrew its support for him. A last-ditch effort to realize opposition support fell through. read more

Muhyiddin had said the recent crisis was brought on by his refusal of demands like dropping graft charges against some individuals.

“I will never conspire with the kleptocrat group, interfere with the independence of the judiciary and switch my back on the federal constitution merely to stay in power,” he said in Monday’s speech.

UMNO politicians faced with corruption charges include former premier Najib Razak and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. they need denied wrongdoing and were among those that withdrew support for Muhyiddin this month.