According to local media reports, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin resigns on Monday

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Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will introduce his new cabinet members in the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on March 9, 2020.

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Images

The Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will resign on Monday, the news portal Malaysiakini reported after losing his majority due to power struggles within the ruling coalition.

If confirmed, Muhyiddin’s resignation would end a tumultuous 17-month term, but it would also add more uncertainty to Malaysia as the country grapples with rising COVID-19 cases and an economic downturn.

It was not immediately clear who would form the next government as there is no clear majority in parliament or whether elections could be held during the pandemic.

It would be up to the constitutional monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah, to decide what happens next.

Muhyiddin will submit his resignation to the king on Monday, Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, a minister in the prime minister’s department, Malaysiakini reported on Sunday.

Reuters was unable to reach Mohd Redzuan and the prime minister’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Malaysiakini quoted Mohd Redzuan as saying that Muhyiddin had informed party members of his decision to resign after exhausting all other options to support the government.

“Tomorrow there will be a special session of the cabinet. After that he will go (to the palace) to submit his resignation,” Mohd Redzuan told Malaysiakini.

Muhyiddin’s seizure of power has been precarious by a narrow majority since he took office in March 2020. The pressure on him recently increased after some MPs from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party – the largest bloc in the government alliance – withdrew their support.

The prime minister had opposed his resignation for weeks and said he would prove his majority in parliament through a vote of confidence in September.

However, on Friday, Muhyiddin admitted not having a majority for the first time and made one final attempt to woo the opposition by pledging political and electoral reforms in exchange for support in the confidence vote. The offer was unanimously rejected.

The king has constitutional power to appoint a prime minister from among elected legislators based on who he believes can have a majority.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at Singapore’s Institute of International Affairs, said the king could also appoint an interim prime minister until a permanent successor is found.

The prime minister would then have to face a vote of confidence in parliament, he said.

Potential successors

Potential candidates for Prime Minister or Interim Prime Minister are Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, both from the UMNO party. Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could also make a claim.

UMNO, Malaysia’s “big old party”, ruled the country for more than 60 years from independence until it was defeated in 2018 following widespread corruption allegations.

It returned to power in 2020 as part of Muhyiddin’s coalition. It is the largest bloc in the coalition, but it did not hold the prime ministerial post that played a role in the Alliance’s power struggles.

Muhyiddin said the recent riots were due to his refusal to comply with demands, including dropping corruption allegations against some people.

UMNO politicians, including former Prime Minister Najib Razak and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, are charged with transplantation. You have denied wrongdoing and were among those who withdrew support for Muhyiddin this month.