In his live press conference today at 12.30pm, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin made an announcement that he will not resign as prime minister as he still commands the majority to keep him in power. He claimed that he has presented the necessary numbers in the form of Statutory Declarations by the MPs who support him to the YDPA. He has also further stated that the test for his majority will be seen once parliament reconvenes in September where a motion of no confidence will be tabled for the MPs to vote on.
The question to ask ourselves is whether we can believe his statements that he still commands the majority? Despite the rumors that have been circulating around media outlets, TSMY may in fact still have the numbers required to maintain his position. The first argument to prove this premise is the fact the YDPA has not called on his resignation yet, which indicates that TSMY is not lying about his support. This is likely due to the fact that TSMY does in fact have the necessary numbers to continue his reign as prime minister.
Although UMNO did release a media statement yesterday pertaining their withdrawal of support, it seems like the prime minister is not fazed by the statement and has made a comment during his live statement that parties were trying to strong-arm him into interfering with their respective court cases, this is likely aimed at UMNO MPs who currently face criminal charges in court. During the press conference, UMNO cabinet members can be seen in the background which could be a subtle message by the government to show UMNO’s support still stands with the PN government. The prevailing theory is that UMNO may be publicly condemning the government but is secretly supporting behind the scenes to ensure power does not fall into the opposition’s hands.
Even if he does not possess the necessary numbers to hold onto power, it seems like there is no other way to remove the prime minister other than through a vote of no confidence in parliament. However, September is a month away and many back-room deals can be finalized before the vote is tabled in parliament, similar to the previous occasion when the no-confidence motion was tabled. Despite first being accused of not possessing the necessary numbers, TSMY did manage to secure a simple majority in parliament during that motion.
This brings us to the plan PN is likely attempting to pull off before the important motion is tabled. During this one month before parliament reconvenes, PN will likely aim to solidify UMNO’s support first and foremost as they hold the position as kingmakers for this crumbling government. More positions will be offered to UMNO MP’s and PN will also offer them cabinet positions to replace those who have resigned. Through this plan, TSMY will be able to make accurate calculations on the numbers he has and will have more space to maneuver in search of additional numbers should it be required. This plan is however not full proof as continuing to ally and rely on UMNO’s support is extremely risky for TSMY as their allegiance can easily shift to secure a better position assuming that their allegiance is based on positions offered which can easily be bought over by another PM candidate should there be one by September.
With a one-month countdown now ticking, it will be crucial for PN to not just secure the necessary numbers to remain in power but also to ensure they will be able to cover up their tracks should they lose power at the end, this could be the second reason why the PN government insist on testing their majority in parliament. By buying an additional month, plans can be put into motion to destroy paper trails, buying off necessary people, and cover up all loose ends to make sure they will not be dragged to court once their time comes to an end. Don’t be surprised if any buildings suddenly catch on fire after this, resulting in the loss of important documents tying PN to whatever deals they made during their tenure.
If Malaysian politics was a Netflix drama, then this live press conference is equivalent to the season finale. The next season will continue in September when parliament reconvenes and the vote of no confidence is tabled, where the storyline for season 2 will largely be shaped depending on whether the motion is passed.
Kage is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
Register at headliner.newswav.com to become one of our content writers now!
*The views expressed are those of the author. If you have any questions about the content, copyright or other issues of the work, please contact Newswav.