Malaysia’s new Prime Minister delays Parliament as opposition parties challenge his legitimacy


Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has postponed the start of parliamentary proceedings by two months, amid opposition efforts to challenge his government with a confidence vote.

Key points:

  • Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed Prime Minister by Malaysia’s king after the abrupt resignation of Mahathir Mohamad
  • Dr Mahathir failed to form a national unity government that would have given him greater powers
  • Dr Mahathir’s coalition says it has the support of the majority of Parliament and has promised a confidence vote

Mr Muhyiddin was sworn in on Sunday after a week of political turmoil triggered by the abrupt resignation of Mahathir Mohamad, 94.

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah appointed Mr Muhyiddin as the Prime Minister, saying he believed Mr Muhyiddin possibly had the support of a majority in parliament.

But Dr Mahathir’s coalition has said they have the majority and vowed to bring a confidence vote in parliament when it reconvened on March 9.

Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof said in a statement that he has received a letter from Mr Muhyiddin stating the session will instead start on May 18.

Mr Muhyiddin, a former interior minister in Dr Mahathir’s cabinet, joined hands with the UMNO party — which lost federal power in the 2018 election — and Islamist party PAS to form a new coalition.

His move came after the resignation of Dr Mahathir, who then tried to form a national unity government that would have given him greater powers but got little support from politicians.

Dr Mahathir went back to partner with his old rival Anwar Ibrahim to stop Mr Muhyiddin but the king’s decision to appoint the latter put an end to these efforts.