Malaysia’s Deputy Works Minister Shahruddin Salleh has resigned, claiming it was a mistake to join Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, which is now barely clinging on to power.
In a short statement yesterday, the Sri Gading MP said that he “should have prioritised how voters in Sri Gading chose Pakatan Harapan (PH)”, referring to the coalition that was ousted in February after Tan Sri Muhyiddin led lawmakers from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to defect from PH and form the PN government with then opposition parties.
“It was an incorrect political reasoning to join the PN government. As an early step to correct this mistake, I am resigning, as I was appointed by the Prime Minister from PN,” he said.
Although Datuk Shahruddin has not clarified if he will remain a government backbencher, former premier Mahathir Mohamad’s office has released a video showing the two men meeting last evening.
Opposition figures now claim that the PN alliance is backed by only 112 MPs, the bare minimum needed for a simple majority in Parliament.
Tun Dr Mahathir, who helmed the PH government before it was ousted in February, has repeatedly claimed that Mr Muhyiddin does not have the necessary support to govern, and has sought a motion of no confidence against him.
Under PN, parliamentary debates scheduled for March and May have been postponed, leaving the Muhyiddin administration’s majority untested.
In recent weeks, speculation that Dr Mahathir has cobbled together the support of up to 130 MPs has gone viral on social media.
However, supporters of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Parti Keadilan Rakyat president and parliamentary opposition leader, have also staked his claim to the top job.
Separately, Mr Muhyiddin returned to work yesterday after completing his 14-day self-quarantine, which began after an officer present at a post-Cabinet meeting on May 20 tested positive for Covid-19.
Mr Muhyiddin chaired the weekly Cabinet meeting via video-conference, with Cabinet ministers sitting in two separate meeting rooms at the Perdana Putra building.