Malaysian prime minister faces calls to resign after palace rebuke

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin faced calls to resign on Thursday from the opposition and the biggest bloc in the ruling coalition, after a rebuke by the king over the government’s handling of emergency ordinances. Muhyiddin’s government said earlier this week that on July 21 it had revoked all ordinances that had come into effect since a national state of emergency was imposed in January.

King Al-Sultan Abdullah imposed the emergency
on the advice of Muhyiddin, who had said it was needed to curb the spread of COVID-19. But
critics have slammed the move and accused the
premier of trying to cling to power amid a slim
majority.

Muhyiddin has governed with a razor-thin
majority and led an unstable ruling coalition
since coming to power in March 2020.
In a statement on Thursday, the palace said the
revocation of the ordinances was done without
the king’s consent and thus ran counter to the
federal constitution and the principles of law.

“His Majesty is of the opinion that as head of
state, he has the responsibility to present advice and criticism if an act by any party contravenes the Federal Constitution, especially in carrying out the functions and powers of His Majesty as the King, the palace said.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy in which
the king has a largely ceremonial role, carrying
out his duties on advice from the prime minister and cabinet. But the monarch also has the power to decide if an emergency should be declared.

The UMNO party, the biggest bloc in the ruling
alliance, called on Muhyiddin to resign for
disobeying the king’s decree to debate the
emergency ordinances in parliament and
revoking them without his consent.

“This wasa clear act of treason towards the
King, and goes against the principles of the
Federal Constitution” UMNO president Ahmad
Zahid Hamidi said in a statement.
Muhyiddin’s office did not respond to a request
for comment.

Opposition leader Anwar lbrahim told a news
conference at parliament that he had filed a
motion of no confidence in Muhyiddin’s
leadership, and claimed a majority of lawmakers no longer supported the prime minister.

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