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New Malaysian PM shuns political meetings on first day

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The Prime Minister’s Office said Muhyiddin’s schedule was filled with meetings with heads of departments and agencies. AFP

New Malaysian PM shuns political meetings on first day

Newly minted Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has not scheduled any political meetings or discussions on his first day at work on Monday, his office said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said Muhyiddin’s schedule was filled with meetings with heads of departments and agencies.

“The Prime Minister is also meeting with the Chief Secretary to the Government to coordinate the government administration,” it said in a statement on Monday.

He also visited his parent’s graves at his hometown in Muar, Johor.

He is scheduled to meet Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador at 4:30pm, followed by Armed Forces Chief General Affendi Buang an hour later.

Muhyiddin had clocked in at the office of the Prime Minister at 7:55am, a day after being sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.

On hand to welcome the new prime minister was chief secretary to the government Mohd Zuki Ali.

Muhyiddin, 72, was sworn in as Prime Minister before King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Sunday.

The King appointed Muhyiddin, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president as the new Prime Minister under Articles 40(2)(a) and 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

His appointment ends the week-long political impasse that saw the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government after barely two years in power.

Malaysia was hit by a political storm which saw Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigning as prime minister and Bersatu pulling out of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition on February 24.

Mahathir, 94, on Sunday insisted that he still had the backing of the majority of lawmakers in the 222-strong Parliament.

“The King has made the decision not to see me anymore, but to appoint Muhyiddin. So I did not have the chance to tell the King that he does not have the majority. I cannot communicate with the palace,” he told reporters.

He lamented that “this is a very strange thing . . . The losers [of the last election] will form the government, the winners will be in the opposition”.

He was referring to Muhyiddin’s supporters from former opposition parties Umno and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, which were defeated by PH in the last general election in May 2018.

Muhyiddin is also backed by most of the MPs from Bersatu – Dr Mahathir’s party - as well as those from Gabungan Parti Sarawak, which controls the eastern state.

Mahathir said he would request an urgent session of Parliament – which is supposed to reconvene on March 9 – to test if Muhyiddin commands the majority.

“Let MPs decide whether they support or not. That will be the official decision,” he added.

PH claims it has the support of 112 MPs, which is the minimum required to form a government.

Meanwhile, Parliament Speaker Mohamad Ariff Mohamad Yusof said on Sunday that the parliamentary assembly sitting slated for March 9 may be postponed.

“[The session will] probably not [start on March 9]. I will be officially communicating with the PMO [Prime Minister’s Office] tomorrow,” he was quoted as saying by Malay-language daily Berita Harian.

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