Parliament was dissolved to prevent ‘disharmony’ after PN ministers objected to polls this year: Ismail Sabri
In response, Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin Yassin says it is irresponsible of the caretaker prime minister to accuse those in his coalition.
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian caretaker prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said on Tuesday (Oct 11) that he opted to dissolve parliament in order to prevent disharmony in the Cabinet, after Perikatan Nasional (PN) ministers wrote to the king to voice their objections over holding polls this year.
In a statement, Mr Ismail Sabri said the actions of these ministers showed that they have turned their backs on the prime minister, who was appointed by the king. This eroded the spirit of solidarity in the administration, he added.
“There were others in the Cabinet who had openly criticised government decisions and policies.
“In fact, a remark by PN’s chairman Muhyiddin Yassin, which declared that the main enemy of Perikatan is Barisan Nasional (BN), had sown division despite his party being a part of the government,” he said.
Mr Ismail Sabri also noted that Mr Muhyiddin, as the chairman of the National Recovery Council, had urged the dissolution of parliament by claiming that the government had failed in managing the country and its economy.
“The government could only function smoothly through togetherness and unity in providing the best services and benefits to Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family),” he added.
On Monday, Mr Ismail Sabri declared the parliament dissolved in a televised address, after receiving consent from the king.
Shortly after Mr Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of parliament, Comptroller of the Royal Household of Istana Negara, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said that the king had no choice but to consent.
“The king expressed his disappointment in the current political developments of the country and had no choice but to consent to the prime minister’s request to return the mandate back to the people for a stable government,” he said.
IRRESPONSIBLE FOR CARETAKER PM TO PUT THE BLAME ON ME: MUHYIDDIN
In response to Mr Ismail Sabri’s statement, Mr Muhyiddhin said that the caretaker prime minister was irresponsible in accusing him and PN ministers of making the government unstable.
He claimed that Mr Ismail Sabri is resorting to finger-pointing after the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) saw backlash from the people who were upset the election was called during the monsoon season.
“This (blame) is because they are facing severe attack and anger from the public at large. You have to blame yourself. You have to bear the burden of the people who are unhappy,” he was quoted as saying by Malaysian media on Tuesday night.
Mr Muhyiddin added that he did not want to prolong the argument as the king had consented to the dissolution of parliament.
An election is not due until September 2023, but Mr Ismail Sabri has been under pressure from some factions of his ruling coalition to hold the vote earlier.
In the weeks leading up to the dissolution of parliament, opposition parties criticised the possibility of an early election, arguing that the monsoon season will impede voters’ ability to access polling stations.
On Sep 30, the UMNO supreme council decided that parliament must be dissolved soon so that GE15 can be held this year.
UMNO’s call for an early GE15 has been criticised by the opposition and Mr Ismail Sabri’s own Cabinet members as Malaysia’s Meteorological Department has warned of floods during the north-east monsoon season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.
The presidential council of the main opposition bloc Pakatan Harapan (PH) said in a statement last Wednesday that the three states controlled by the coalition - Selangor, Negeri Sembilan and Penang - will only dissolve their state assemblies next year due to concerns over floods.
State assemblies led by Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) - Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah - will also not be dissolved if a general election is held soon, said party deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man last Wednesday, according to a report by Free Malaysia Today.
PN’s Cabinet ministers sent a letter to the king to voice their objections over holding GE15 this year, Mr Tuan Ibrahim said then.
PN, which comprises Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and PAS, was a component of the ruling coalition together with UMNO-led BN.