KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin could secure the support of political opponents to stabilise his administration if he were willing to remove two ministers portrayed as the masterminds behind an abortive bid for emergency rule, said Senator Liew Chin Tong.
Liew said the prime minister could demonstrate a true commitment to bipartisanship if he dropped Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin from the Cabinet.
The senator said Muhyiddin must also commit to engaging with Opposition lawmakers rather than treating the group as though they were enemies of the state.
“To smooth the process, Muhyiddin should also consider offering the heads of Hamzah Zainudin and Azmin Ali, in exchange for the goodwill of all parties across the aisle to move forward in a bipartisan manner,” Liew said in a statement.
Azmin and Hamzah have been repeatedly accused of being the prime movers behind the so-called “Sheraton Move” that led to the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government and the installation of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration as its replacement.
Muhyiddin had appeared to appoint Azmin as his right hand man after saying the latter was the first of equals among his four senior ministers.
Today, Liew repeated his allegation that Hamzah was Muhyiddin’s “chief political operator” who was adamant on trying to create a dominant single party and the planner of a failed “coup” attempt in October 2019 that later evolved into the “Sheraton Move”.
“The move to push for emergency rule is reportedly another of Hamzah’s ventures, with Azmin Ali openly defending it,” Liew said.
“But I was still stunned when Muhyiddin went along with it and presented it to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”
The DAP leader urged Muhyiddin to accept that his footing in Parliament was tenuous and understand that he must win both the support of allies and the goodwill of the Opposition in order to govern effectively.
Liew then repeated his suggestion that Muhyiddin offer up Azmin and Hamzah as the proverbial sacrificial lambs to begin the process of political healing.
“With the departures of Hamzah and Azmin from the Cabinet, cooperation among the governing Perikatan coalition parties will improve, and a friendlier milieu for a genuine bipartisan working relationship with the opposition in time of Covid-19 crisis would be fostered.”
Yesterday, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah confirmed rumours that Muhyiddin and his Cabinet had sought a proclamation of emergency in Malaysia.
After consulting the Conference of Rulers yesterday, however, Al-Sultan said he did not see any need for such a proclamation in Malaysia or any of its territories on grounds that the government has competently handled the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the Agong advised politicians to stop their feuding and to cooperate in ensuring the federal Budget was passed when it is tabled next month.
* A previous version of this story contained an error on the spelling of Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin's name which has since been corrected.