Muhyiddin quits as PM with no clear successor in sight

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin waves at members of the media as he arrives at his residence in Bukit Damansara after an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong August 16, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin waves at members of the media as he arrives at his residence in Bukit Damansara after an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong August 16, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin became the country’s shortest ruling prime minister today amid a prolonged and fractious power struggle with Umno that has left the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition in tatters.

Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin, in an Instagram post, confirmed that the Cabinet has tendered its resignation to the Agong. Muhyiddin is now expected to address the nation soon.

Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein also took to Twitter and posted: “It has been an honour and a privilege to serve our beloved country and her people. May Allah SWT bless us all.”

The Pagoh MP led a tumultuous term that spanned just seventeen months as he headed a fragile bloc of political parties that quickly turned against each other while he battled a pandemic that had wreaked havoc on the economy and killed thousands.

In the last few days of his premiership, Muhyiddin faced mounting pressure from both his political opponents and the public angered by a worsening public health crisis.

It is still uncertain who will succeed him as prime minister, with Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob among names proposed for a new Umno-led coalition while Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Pakatan Harapan has yet to show it commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat.

Muhyiddin had chaired his last Cabinet meeting this morning before heading to the Palace for an audience with the Agong.

He was seen entering the National Palace at around 12.20pm before leaving just 40 minutes after.

On the ground, speculation is growing about what will happen next. Some analysts believe Umno could regain control but with a coalition composed of the very same component members, with one of its own as prime minister while Bersatu would be relegated to a secondary role.

Others believe that the Agong could appoint an interim prime minister who would lead a temporary government until a general election is called, likely when the pandemic has stabilised, estimated to be somewhere in the first half of next year.

There are rumours that Gua Musang MP Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, the Umno veteran who had worked hard to push Muhyiddin out, could be picked for the post.

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