Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin tendered his resignation to the king Monday, becoming the shortest-ruling leader after conceding that he lost majority support to govern.
Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wrote on Instagram that “the Cabinet has tendered our resignation” to the king, shortly after Muhyiddin left the palace after meeting the monarch.
Muhyidddin’s departure comes less than 18 months after taking office and will plunge the country into a fresh crisis amid a worsening pandemic.
Muhyiddin initially insisted he still has majority support and would prove this in Parliament next month. But in a U-turn Friday, the premier acknowledged he may have lost majority support in Parliament and sought the backing of opposition parties to keep his government from collapsing.
Muhyiddin promised to call general elections by next July and offered a raft of benefits, including proposals to limit the prime minister’s tenure, bolster checks and balances, and perks similar to a senior minister to the opposition leader in return for their support. But all opposition parties rejected the olive branch, calling it open bribery and demanded that he resign.
Over a dozen lawmakers from the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the largest party in the ruling alliance, have pulled their support for the government, which is enough to cause its collapse because of its razor-thin majority. Two UMNO ministers have resigned from the Cabinet.
Muhyiddin took power in March 2020 after initiating the collapse of the former reformist government that won 2018 elections. His party joined hands with UMNO and several others to form a new government that is unstable. UMNO has been unhappy with playing second fiddle to Muhyiddin’s smaller party.