Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia’s Muhyiddin rejects call for snap election

Malaysia’s Muhyiddin rejects call for snap election

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has also offered to take a five to 10 per cent pay cut on his salary as prime minister to help reduce government spending. AFP

Malaysia’s Muhyiddin rejects call for snap election

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday announced the setting up of a new Economic Action Council to tackle the coronavirus outbreak and falling oil prices.

He also dismissed calls for a snap election and pledged that his newly-appointed Cabinet will work for all Malaysians.

“The economy is in a critical state. Oil prices have plunged 31 per cent to $30 per barrel, adding pressure to government revenue. Further exacerbating the situation is the Covid-19 outbreak,” the prime minister told a news conference after chairing the first meeting of his new Cabinet whose members were sworn in on Tuesday.

Muhyiddin called on his predecessor, Dr Mahathir Mohamed, to endorse his government. He also revealed that he had apologised in a letter to Mahathir if he had hurt him in the course of recent events which led to the collapse of the 94-year-old statesman’s Pakatan Harapan government.

Muhyiddin said he had requested to meet Mahathir but to no avail.

“I am ready [to meet Mahathir] anytime, any place, anywhere, for the sake of the country. We have formed this government and I want [Mahathir] to endorse this government. It is legal, it is constitutional,” said the prime minister.

Amid calls for a snap election and questions raised by some critics over the legitimacy of his administration, Muhyiddin said: “If you want to have a snap election, I don’t want that. People will only curse, it’s not the right time. We are here to serve.”

Dr Mahathir had previously stated that he had the numbers in Parliament to return as prime minister and mooted a vote of no-confidence against Muhyiddin in Parliament.

But, in an interview published on Wednesday in the Malay-language Sinar Harian daily, the former leader conceded that such a vote would likely fail.

He predicted that the new government would last until the next general election due in 2023.

“It [Cabinet] will last until the next general election. Now that he [Muhyiddin] is the government, he can give ‘sweets’ to many. I find that some of those who used to be my supporters have now been appointed ministers, and they have moved to that side,” Mahathir was quoted as saying.

The new Economic Action Council, comprising the ministers in charge of international trade, finance and the economy, as well as Bank Negara (the national reserve bank), will start meeting weekly from next Monday.

A RM20 billion ($4.7 billion) stimulus package announced by Dr Mahathir just before Mr Muhyiddin was sworn in as prime minister, will be reviewed and launched in the next two weeks.

Muhyiddin also said the government would look into whether the Goods and Services Tax (GST) would be resurrected amid widespread criticism against the Sales and Services Tax (SST) which was introduced under the former PH administration.

Promising that fighting graft would be a top priority, Muhyiddin said that all ministers will have to declare their assets.

He also offered to take a five to 10 per cent pay cut on his salary as prime minister, to help reduce government spending.

Muhyiddin, who had taken the unprecedented step of appointing four senior ministers instead of a deputy prime minister, said that all four senior ministers were equal, but Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali would chair Cabinet meetings in his absence.



  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants