Malaysia’s king rejects PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal to declare emergency

COVID-19 Malaysia’s PM faces calls to quit after failed bid for emergency rule

By Reuters• 26 October 2020

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin wearing a protective mask arrives at a mosque for prayers, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Putrajaya, Malaysia August 28, 2020.

No official announcement has been made by the prime minister but Muhyiddin is reportedly on his way to meet with King Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al Mustaffa Billah Shah, who is now in Pahang, after chairing a cabinet meeting.

Anwar and his supporters plan to use the tabling of the 2021 budget in parliament on November 6 as a proxy no-confidence vote against Muhyiddin as there were rumblings that disgruntled lawmakers from the premier's ruling coalition would join the opposition to reject the budget.

A resurgence in coronavirus cases and a pandemic-battered economy has also added to his woes.

Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the premier had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz is scheduled to table Budget 2021 in Parliament on Nov 6.

Defeat on the budget would count as a vote of no-confidence in Muhyiddin and could trigger an election.

The king said there was "no need for MPs to continue with irresponsible actions that can affect the stability of the government".

Muhyiddin has been in a precarious position since he took office in March with a two-seat majority.

He was alluding to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's claim that there has been a shift in allegiance among lawmakers, and he now has "formidable and convincing" backing to form a new government.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with nine sultans or rulers, who head their respective state and act as the religious leader, taking turns to serve as King for a five-year term. The constitution also stipulates that if the prime minister ceases to command the majority, the prime minister shall tender the resignation of the cabinet unless at his request the King dissolves the parliament.

If the King approves Muhyiddin's request to declare a state of emergency, the king could run the country as well as its administration.

New Sin Yew, a constitutional lawyer, said that if Muhyiddin had formally advised the king to impose a state of emergency, the monarch would have been obliged to comply. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on October 13 said he had the backing of more than 120 of Malaysia's 222 MPs, and urged the prime minister to resign.

"So today, what the king did was warn against such a proposal, which is entirely within his rights to do", said New.



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