By Chew Lip Song
UMNO last night retracted its support for Perikatan Nasional (PN), hours after two of the party’s leaders were made Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister.
Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also wants Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin to make way for an interim PM.
In a statement issued in the wee hours today following the party’s supreme council meeting which began at 8.30pm last night, Zahid said the withdrawal of support followed PN’s failure to meet seven requirements the party outlined on March 11, 2020, 11 days after Muhyiddin was sworn in as the Prime Minister.
He listed down seven main reasons why Umno could no longer support the the government. This includes the government’s alleged failure to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Others include the inconsistent policies that had led to the ineffective implementation of a lockdown and the misuse of the Emergency Ordinance.
“For example, a half-baked lockdown had doubled the death toll from 2, 800 to over 5, 000 in only a period of 38 days after the prime minister announced the lockdown.
“The government clearly failed by abusing the Emergency that is only used for political purposes and it has led to suffering of the people and stagnation in the country’s economy,” he added
Ahmad Zahid also said the government has failed to uphold the welfare of the public, adding that it has led to suicide rates doubling in recent months.
“There were a total of 1, 099 suicide cases from March 2020 till May 2021, ” he added.
Ahmad Zahid also said the failure of the government to immediately abide by calls from the King and the Malay Rulers to reconvene Parliament was one of the reasons why Umno cannot support Perikatan anymore.
“As a party that is the main defender of the Malay Royal Institution, as enshrined in Article 3 of the Umno Constitution, Umno cannot compromise with the government’s attitude towards the monarchy.
“Based on the seven terms listed above, I would like to state here that Muhyiddin’s government has failed, ” he added.
The Bagan Dato MP also urged Muhyiddin to step down honourably and allow a new prime minister to be appointed for a temporary period.
Umno has 38 MPs in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat.
Yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the appointment of Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as Deputy Prime Minister and Senior Minister (Security), respectively.
Zahid’s statement last night made no mention if the decision to withdraw from the Government was unanimous or if its party’s leaders in the Cabinet would resign.