KUALA LUMPUR: The tabling of a confidence motion to test Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s parliamentary support has been scheduled for Sep 7 for now, said Communications and Multimedia Minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
This came as the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was being pressured by the opposition and some in the ruling bloc to bring forward the confidence test, ahead of the next parliament meeting which starts on Sep 6.
In a virtual press conference on Thursday (Aug 12), Mr Saifuddin said the meeting notice has been issued by the Lower House speaker.
“The notice has also been issued by the speaker of the Lower House, that Sep 7 is the date set for (Mr Muhyiddin’s) confidence vote. For now that is the date that we have,” he said.
When asked whether a new date for the confidence motion was discussed by the Cabinet, Mr Saifuddin said: “Everything has possibilities. In politics there are all kinds of possibilities.”
“But officially, the date at this point is Sep 7,” he added.
Mr Muhyiddin had earlier promised to prove his legitimacy through a motion of confidence in the September parliament meeting.
He insisted in a national address on Aug 4 that he still commanded the parliamentary majority, a day after United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he had gathered a sufficient number of statutory declarations (SDs) from party lawmakers who are withdrawing their support for Mr Muhyiddin.
Two UMNO ministers have since resigned from the Cabinet. UMNO also made public Ahmad Zahid's letters to the king, which informed the latter that 14 UMNO MPs had retracted their support for the prime minister.
Separately, Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob led 31 Barisan Nasional MPs, including lawmakers from UMNO, to pledge their support for the ruling PN government until its legitimacy is proven in the parliament. However, several UMNO MPs later publicly denied being part of the group.
There are 222 seats in the Malaysian parliament but two seats are vacant following the demise of the incumbents. Opposition parties currently hold 105 seats.
Local media reported that the prime minister met with leaders from Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional for around two hours on Wednesday evening.
Mr Saifuddin, the communications minister, noted in his Thursday press conference that Mr Muhyiddin had previously promised to hold the 15th general election once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
The government then focused on fighting the pandemic and ensuring economic continuity, he said.
“Even so, issues over his legitimacy as prime minister arose,” Mr Saifuddin said.
Malaysia recorded 21,668 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, the highest daily infections so far. There are over 1.34 million cases in total.