PETALING JAYA: Thirty-one Barisan Nasional MPs have declared that they will continue to back the Perikatan Nasional government in line with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree to keep the administration intact until the vote of confidence in Parliament in September.
In a press conference on Friday (Aug 6), the MPs led by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said several of the MPs, who are holding minister posts in the government, would not resign en masse to prematurely trigger Perikatan’s collapse before Parliament could sit.
Going against the stance held by Umno - the lynchpin party for the Barisan coalition - which has rescinded its support for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Ismail Sabri said that it would be irresponsible for the MPs to pull out now as this would be tantamount to betraying the trust put in them by the rakyat.
“Our stance is to heed the Yang di-Pertuang Agong’s decree for the government of the day to continue governing and prove its legitimacy in Parliament in September.
“A total of 21 MPs have made this stance and it is supported by another 10 MPs, who could not attend the meeting held, stating that they support the same stand.
“The King has consented for a motion of confidence to be laid in Parliament whereby MPs could individually state their stance.
“It is obvious that the King wants the Parliament to sit and the decision whether this government could continue to function or otherwise after September will be determined by the MPs themselves,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said that there was no question of the Barisan MPs being disloyal to the coalition’s stance, adding that those who are disloyal were actually those who dared to blatantly go against the King’s decree.
He reiterated that the King decreed for the matter of Perikatan’s legitimacy to be settled in Parliament and that any move made to prematurely lead to the government’s collapse before Dewan Rakyat could sit would be going against His Majesty’s decree.
“This includes sending statutory declarations (SDs) and doing anything that could lead for the government to fall.
“Istana Negara is no longer accepting SDs or any letters of support. There was a statement by the Umno president that he would present more names (of MPs who have withdrawn their support for Muhyiddin) but I think this is against the King’s decision,” he said.
Ismail Sabri said the lawmakers and ministers are now focused on helping the government to settle the rakyat’s issues as many are badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Running from the responsibilities to the people is indeed an irresponsible move.
“We will continue to support the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s decree to stay and support the government until its legitimacy can be determined in Parliament,” he said.
About the viral letter dated Aug 5 issued by the Umno secretary-general’s office demanding for all MPs including ministers and deputy ministers to rescind their support for Muhyiddin and Perikatan, Ismail Sabri urged the party president to meet all the MPs individually to discuss their stance.
“We will discuss and decide on answering the letter. At the same time, because the president’s command is involving the MPs, we urge him to meet us so that we can explain our intentions to him.
“I don’t think such sudden instructions can be issued without meeting us first and explaining the actions taken by the president,” he said.
Also present were Pasir Salak MP Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Padang Rengas MP Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Federal Territories Minister and Kereteh MP Tan Sri Annuar Musa, Arau MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, National Unity Minister and Kota Tinggi MP Datuk Seri Halimah Saddique, MIC deputy president and Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan as well as Transport Minister and MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
According to Ismail Sabri, other MPs who shared the same stance included Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba, Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein as well Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican, all of whom could not attend the conclave due to official duties.
Others who decided to continue supporting Perikatan included Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Special Functions) Datuk Mastura Mohd Yazid, Deputy Housing and Local Government Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Muttalib, Besut MP Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, Padang Terap MP Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim and Tanjong Karang MP Tan Sri Noh Omar, among others.
During the Umno annual general assembly in March this year, the delegates had come to the decision to rescind their support for Muhyiddin as prime minister.
On Aug 3, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said he has gathered a sufficient number of statutory declarations (SD) from party MPs who are withdrawing their support for Muhyiddin, thus effectively meaning that he has lost his majority.
The next day, following an audience with the King in the morning, Muhyiddin declared that he still had the majority support and would be taking a vote of confidence when Parliament reconvened in September to prove his legitimacy as the premier.