Ahmad Zahid claims sufficient UMNO MPs have withdrawn support for PM Muhyiddin; energy minister quits Cabinet
KUALA LUMPUR: United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed on Tuesday (Aug 3) that he has gathered a sufficient number of statutory declarations (SDs) from party lawmakers who are withdrawing their support for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
As such, Mr Muhyiddin has lost his majority, he said.
In an online press conference after a party supreme council meeting, Ahmad Zahid said the SDs have been presented to the king.
"Sufficient number of SDs by UMNO MPs to express their withdrawal of support for Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin have been presented to the king, thus showing that his leadership has lost the majority, and he has lost his legitimacy as prime minister," he said.
“Tan Sri Mahiaddin Md Yasin must take responsibility for the government's failure and its refusal to adhere with the king’s decree by resigning as prime minister honorably," Ahmad Zahid added.
Mahiaddin Md Yasin is the prime minister's official name, although he is widely known as Muhyiddin Yassin.
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About 10 MPs were seen standing behind Ahmad Zahid at the press conference, including former prime minister Najib Razak, deputy speaker of parliament Azalina Said Othman, UMNO secretary-general Ahmad Maslan and UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.
Gesturing at them, Ahmad Zahid said they were among the party lawmakers who have signed the SDs.
"There are a few more MPs who are not able to with us today as they are in their respective constituencies, especially those in Sabah," he said.
Earlier in the day, a minister from UMNO resigned from the Cabinet.
Mr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, who is Lenggong MP, said in a statement that he is stepping down as the energy and natural resources minister after taking party decisions into consideration.
"In view of several decisions made by the party and the party's stances, I, as a loyal UMNO member, resign as a Cabinet member," said the UMNO supreme council member.
Mr Shamsul said he would focus on his duty as Lenggong MP after this and "help to strengthen the party in an increasingly challenging political situation."
Conflicts among component members in the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government have been playing out in the open since last year.
The tussle for leadership in Malaysia’s government saw a key development on Jul 7, when Mr Muhyiddin promoted UMNO MPs Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Hishammuddin Hussein to Malaysia’s deputy prime minister and senior minister respectively.
The appointments came amid renewed talks of UMNO considering pulling out of PN.
UMNO, a traditionally dominant party in Barisan Nasional, has 38 MPs, while Mr Muhyiddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia - seen as a splinter of UMNO - has 31.
Just hours later, Ahmad Zahid, who was speaking at a virtual press conference after the party’s supreme council meeting, confirmed that UMNO has withdrawn its support for the PN government led by Mr Muhyiddin, and called for his resignation.
On Jul 14, the Cabinet members, including those with UMNO, issued a statement indicating that they have unanimously decided to continue throwing their support behind Mr Muhyiddin.