I’m not the traitor, says Muhyiddin

The new prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, in a live address this evening. (Berita RTM Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has denied that he was a ‘political traitor, as claimed by various politicians, arguing instead that his move to claim the prime ministership was to end the week-long political crisis caused by the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad last week.

Muhyiddin gave the assurance that he would appoint cabinet ministers who were clean, and had integrity and calibre.

“I am also aware that the rakyat wants a government that is clean, with integrity and free from corruption,” he said in a national address tonight.

Torn between supporting Mahathir and ending the turmoil

Muhyiddin took his oath of office yesterday as Malaysia’s 8th prime minister after a week of political turmoil caused by the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad after Muhyiddin took his party, PPBM, out of the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Members of PH have accused him and former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, of having betrayed the coalition and the trust of the electorate whose votes brought PH into power in 2018.

Muhyiddin said that in the past week he had been torn between continuing to support Mahathir, whose government no longer had a majority, or accepting his nomination as prime minister by MPs of PPBM and leaders of other parties.

“If I had continued supporting Mahathir, the political turmoil would have continued. Parliament could be forced to be dissolved and a general election held.

“I realised that Malaysians have grown tired of the political turmoil. In this situation, as a leader, I had to find a way to resolve this. I could not let the turmoil last any longer.”

Muhyiddin pledges to be a PM for all Malaysians

In his speech, he made a veiled response to the controversial circumstances surrounding the new Perikatan Nasional coalition of Umno, PAS, PPBM and others.

The new coalition has been viewed as being Malay-Muslim dominated.

Muhyiddin said: “I am the prime minister for all Malaysians, from Perlis to Sabah; whether you’re Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Iban, Kadazan, Dusun, Murut, Orang Asli or any ethnicity, I am your prime minister.

“I ask Malaysians to give me their full support in carrying this trust and heavy responsibility. Give me the chance to make use of my 40 years of experience in politics and government to steer the nation to prosperity,” he said.

Muhyiddin said his government would continue to fight corruption and misuse of power, adding that priority will be given to improving integrity and good governance.

He also promised to improve the national healthcare system, with the people receiving better access at affordable prices.

He said he would use his past experience as education minister for six years to further improve the quality of the national education system.

“I will ensure that our children receive an education that possesses the same quality as other developed countries,” he said.

He also vowed to focus on fulfilling the 2030 Shared Prosperity Vision programmed launched by Mahathir’s government, to grow the nation’s economy and close the economic gap between Malaysian communities.

Muhyiddin took office yesterday after what has been described as the longest week in Malaysian politics. He was named the next prime minister after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, had interviewed all 222 MPs and consulted party leaders.