New M’sia PM to announce Cabinet lineup at 5pm

Malaysia’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is expected to announce his Cabinet lineup at 5pm at the Prime Minister’s Office today (9 Mar).

PMO in a statement said that the announcement will be made after the lineup receives royal assent from the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Mr Muhyiddin will present the new Cabinet lineup to the King at 11am today.

Mr Muhyiddin was sworn-in as the nation’s eighth Prime Minister at the national palace, the Istana Negara on 1 Mar after a week of political turmoil plaguing the country.

His appointment as Prime Minister received royal assent from the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on 29 Feb, which the Istana Negara said was “in line with Article 40(2)(a) and Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution”.

Article 40(2)(a) provides for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s capacity to act according to his own discretion in appointing a prime minister, while Article 43(2)(a) provides for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s appointment of a Member of Parliament (MP) — who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of MPs — as the prime minister.

Around two hours before Mr Muhyiddin’s swearing-in ceremony, his immediate predecessor Mahathir Mohamad told a press conference at the Albukhary Foundation in Kuala Lumpur that Mr Muhyiddin is not the right person to be sworn in, as Mr Muhyiddin allegedly did not command the support of the majority of the MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, the lower house of the Malaysian Parliament.

Dr Mahathir also said that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has refused to grant him audience to prove his position that the Pakatan Harapan coalition and himself both command the support of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

Earlier on Sun (8 Mar), Dr Mahathir told reporters that he had received a letter from the new PM asking to meet him to resolve their political differences.

However, he said that he had “previously met” Mr Muhyiddin and reiterated his refusal to work with Umno.

“I had promised not to work with Umno. Muhyiddin in the video clip also promised not to cooperate with Umno.

“However, he had (decided to) accept Umno, the biggest party in his government … His party only has six individuals (MPs), Umno has 51 (MPs),” said Dr Mahathir.

The former premier said that he “cannot make peace with accused persons charged in court for stealing billions of ringgit”.

“I said Umno members (can) enter Bersatu … I accept them on the condition that they leave Umno and join (Bersatu) on their own accord,” said Dr Mahathir, adding: “But Muhyiddin said he was willing to cooperate with such individuals. That is something that I cannot accept.”

Mr Muhyiddin, a former Umno cadre, served as Malaysia’s deputy PM from Apr 2009 to Jul 2015 prior to being dismissed from both his position and the political party for publicly criticising then-PM Najib Razak’s handling of the multi-billion-dollar 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Following his exit from Umno, Mr Muhyiddin became one of the founding members of the Bersatu party, taking up the role of president alongside Dr Mahathir as the party chairman.

Bersatu’s alliance with other component parties under the Pakatan Harapan banner contributed to the coalition’s victory against the Barisan Nasional — the latter of whom had governed Malaysia for slightly over six decades — in the 14th General Election in May 2018.

While he received praise for speaking out against corruption at the expense of being sacked from his post and Umno then, Mr Muhyiddin’s current appointment as PM has stirred discontent and anger among many members of the public.

Mr Muhyiddin was one of the PH politicians seen attending a political gathering at Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya with opposition politicians from Umno and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), as well as Azmin Ali’s PKR bloc.

Keywords and hashtags such as “traitor” and “#notmypm” began circulating on social media platforms such as Twitter mere hours after Mr Muhyiddin’s appointment was announced, and two petitions were made to protest what the public has deemed to be “a betrayal of the trust and mandate of the Rakyat given to Pakatan Harapan leaders”.

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