PMO: No audience with Agong after Umno pulls support

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The Prime Minister’s Office denied today that Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is to meet with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong this evening, as reported by a couple of news portals earlier.

The PMO, responding to multiple reports about the purported meeting, said they were “fake news”.

News reports claimed that Muhyiddin was scheduled to have an audience with the King at Istana Negara later today following the decision of the Umno Supreme Council to withdraw its support for Muhyiddin as the Prime Minister with effect immediately.

Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the decision was made by the Umno Supreme Council during a special meeting held online which lasted four hours. The virtual meeting convened at 8.30pm last night and ended at about 12.30am this morning.

“The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Muhyiddin has failed. It failed to fulfil all the guidelines presented by the Supreme Council on March 11, 2020.

“That was the pre-agreement for Umno to continue its support towards Muhyiddin’s government.

“Therefore, the period given to lend our support to Muhyiddin as the prime minister is over and is withdrawn effective immediately,” Zahid said during a press conference aired lived on Umno’s social media.

In revealing the party’s decision, Zahid said Muhyiddin should step aside for an interim prime minister to take over his duties.

“Umno urges Muhyiddin to resign with honour, to allow a new prime minister to be appointed for a limited term,” he said.

The interim premier, he added, should only be focused on the people’s welfare and remain in power until “herd immunity” against the Covid-19 virus is achieved.

Following this, a fresh general election should be held.

In March, the Umno general assembly empowered Zahid and the supreme council to decide when the party should quit the PN government.

Zahid had said then that he was confident Umno ministers would relinquish their posts when a decision is made.

However, he did not mention if Ismail and the other Umno ministers would resign in his speech after the supreme council meet.

It is believed that Ismail’s recent appointment as deputy prime minister is an attempt by Muhyiddin to placate Umno and buy his administration, which is holding on to power with a tenuous majority, more time.

It remains unclear if Umno’s 38 lawmakers would heed the supreme council’s call.

The majority of them are believed to be aligned to Ismail and Hishammuddin Hussein – who was promoted as senior minister yesterday.

With Padang Rengas MP Nazri Abdul Aziz supporting Muhyiddin again, Umno needs two MPs to revoke their support for Parliament to be hung and three MPs to rescind their backing for the prime minister to be in the minority.

Zahid, who was previously linked to attempts by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to capture Putrajaya, also said Umno would not support any efforts to install the opposition leader as prime minister.

To date, the Agong had yet to indicate that he will intervene in the political upheaval.

It does not appear that Muhyiddin will step down without a fight.

Attorney-General Idrus Harun earlier today declared it was unclear if Muhyiddin had lost the confidence of a majority of MPs.

He said this was because Muhyiddin’s majority must be determined by MPs and not a party statement.

“As of now, the government does not have any clear evidence to show that Muhyiddin has lost the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat members.

“Based on Article 43(2)(1) of the federal constitution, the lawmaker who has the confidence of the majority of Dewan Rakyat members is determined by the lawmakers themselves and not through a statement of any political party or leader of any political party.

Bernama

“As such, in the eyes of the law, the prime minister and cabinet are still empowered as the executive of the federation,” Idrus said in a statement.

This morning, Idrus’s car was among several vehicles seen at Muhyiddin’s residence at Bukit Damansara, where Muhyiddin also met with several ministers, including Ismail Sabri and Hishammuddin.