Without alternative majority, Muhyiddin can stay on as minority PM

(Malaysiakini) – Muhyiddin Yassin may be able to cling onto power as prime minister if an alternative majority fails to emerge, says political analyst Wong Chin Huat.

This comes after 11 Umno MPs withdrew their support today from the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government and Muhyiddin as the prime minister, likely rendering him without the majority.

Wong said if Muhyiddin cannot reverse this loss of majority, the number of MPs who support him will continue to shrink into two digits “in days, if not hours to come”, with more Umno MPs expected to withdraw their support.

“The question is: will an alternative majority emerge? If there is, the new prime minister should immediately convene the Parliament to table a motion of confidence to confirm his power and stabilise politics.

“However, if an alternative majority fails to emerge, the power struggle may drag on. Muhyiddin may stay on or strive to stay on as the minority prime minister,” he said in a posting on his Facebook today.

He said the fate of the other BN parliamentarians depends on whether a new government can be quickly formed and how much of its composition differs from the current one.

If Muhyiddin steps down but the rest of the government remains identical, Wong said the pro-Muhyiddin BN MPs will be able to survive “with little price”.

On the other hand, if Muhyiddin refuses to step down and a new government is formed with the Umno “rebels” and the opposition, then the BN MPs who were Muhyiddin loyalists would be “condemned to the political wilderness”, he said.

“The uncertainty suggests the need for two constitutional or parliamentary mechanisms: a constructive vote of no-confidence (CVNC) where a government cannot be overthrown until an alternative government with a majority is in store, and a confidence and supply agreement (CSA) for minority governments to survive,” Wong said.

Earlier today, Umno president and Bagan Datuk MP Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said 11 Umno MPs including himself had stated their withdrawal of support for Muhyiddin in writing and the process of gathering more was ongoing.

Three days ago, PN leader Shahidan Kassim claimed that the ruling coalition has a majority of 115. Without the 11 Umno MPs, it is clear that PN has lost its majority.

However, it is also unclear if anyone currently commands the support of 111 MPs – the minimum required to claim a majority.

Not long before Zahid and the 10 Umno MPs went live to make their announcement, Umno supreme council member Shamsul Anuar Nasarah resigned as the energy and natural resources minister, citing that he had to be in line with his party’s decision.

According to Article 43(4) of the Federal Constitution, should a prime minister cease to command the confidence of the majority of the MPs, the entire cabinet must resign, unless the Agong agrees to dissolve the Parliament.

As of July 29 – when the Dewan Rakyat last convened – there were 106 MPs on the opposition bench. This includes MPs from Parti Pejuang Tanah Air, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda), PSB, Warisan, Pakatan Harapan, Maszlee Malik and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who is among the 11 Umno MPs who withdrew their support for PN today.