KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin is looking to call snap polls as early as this year to end doubts over his mandate amid accusations that his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government is a “backdoor” one that lacks a parliamentary majority, The Straits Times reported today.
According to the Singapore daily, party sources said that Muhyiddin who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president made his intentions clear at the supreme council meeting on June 4, and has followed up by briefing divisional chiefs in several meetings over subsequent days.
This comes after the three parties that represent the Malay-Muslim majority in his loose ruling alliance moved towards establishing an electoral pact in the past week.
Bersatu supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan confirmed to The Straits Times that the “PM has been meeting grassroots and has also instructed all party leaders to ramp up election preparation”.
“I support the idea of having a general election as soon as possible, once we are safe from the coronavirus situation, as it will end the propaganda over legitimacy and help create a more stable PN government,” he said.
Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister on March 1 after defecting from Pakatan Harapan (PH) with about 40 other MPs in late-February.
But his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had then insisted he still commanded 115 MPs, more than the 112 needed for a simple majority in Parliament.
With Parliament in March postponed and the one-day sitting on May 18 ending with only observing the King’s speech, Muhyiddin’s majority has yet to be tested, although there were 114 MPs who sat in the government bench during the King’s 45-minute opening speech.
Although there have been rumours of defection from both the PN and PH divide have since left the nation with uncertainty, but on official record, there has only been one MP each traded so far, maintaining the status quo of the slimmest governing majority in Malaysia’s history.
Last week, both Umno and PAS indicated that the Muafakat Nasional pact is finalising its preparations to face snap polls.
Both parties are Bersatu’s fellow Malay-Muslim parties that makes up the majority of PN.
Umno’s six-decade rule had ended after the last general election held in May 2018, and the next polls are due only in late 2023.
Muhyiddin is however seen as reluctant to take this route due to fears of a split vote, as Umno’s leadership had previously indicated they would enter Malaysia’s 15th general election by spearheading the existing Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition as well as the Muafakat Nasional pact with PAS.
But it all makes sense now for Muhyiddin to dissolve Parliament as soon as end-2020, after an “election budget” is tabled.