Malaysia’s king accepts PM, cabinet’s resignation: minister

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and his government resigned Monday after tendering its resignation to King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, a minister said Monday, drawing an end to its 17-month administration over the country.

“The Cabinet has tendered our resignation to the Agong,” Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in a message on social media, referring to the country’s king.

The message was posted as Muhyiddin had an audience with King Abdullah on Monday noon, during which he was widely believed to have tendered his resignation after losing the majority in the lower house of parliament.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve our beloved country and her people,” Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on social media.

Muhyiddin has been holding on to power with a slim majority since becoming prime minister in March last year.

He was facing a defeat in a potential vote of confidence after Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), a component of the ruling Muhyiddin coalition, announced the withdrawal of UMNO’s support for the prime minister together with a number of UMNO parliamentarians.

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

Muhyiddin came to power in March last year without an election following the collapse of a two-year-old, reformist government led by nonagenarian political heavyweight Mahathir Mohamad.

The government led by Muhyiddin faced mounting criticism over its failure to keep the coronavirus outbreak under control – officials have now reported over 1.1 million cases and 12,000 deaths.

In January, he persuaded the king to declare Malaysia’s first nationwide state of emergency for over half a century to fight the pandemic. But parliament was also suspended for months, leading to criticism that Muhyiddin was using the crisis to avoid a no-confidence vote.

His position finally became untenable after a group of once allied MPs withdrew support, depriving him of a parliamentary majority, and the king turned against him.

Muhyiddin made his last bid to stay in power on Friday, appealing to opposition MPs to back him in a no-confidence vote – but his offer was rejected.

(With input from Reuters, AFP)