PETALING JAYA: Britain’s The Guardian says the downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government last week, which saw the return of Umno under a new coalition led by Muhyiddin Yassin, was due to a “royal coup”.
“A king has overturned a democratic election result that challenged a corrupt old order. This is wrong and the world ought to call it out,” the daily said in an editorial.
It said it was unfortunate that Umno, which is among the parties backing Muhyiddin’s bloc in a new coalition called Perikatan Nasional, would return to office “thanks to a royal coup enabled by hubris and infighting”.
The paper said the circumstances leading to the collapse of the 21-month-old government showed that former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad “had badly miscalculated in believing only he could hold the government together and would thereby be reappointed by the king”.
“In the event, the monarch passed over Dr Mahathir and decided to appoint the newly independent Mr Muhyiddin as prime minister, citing his ability to command a parliamentary majority,” it added.
Mahathir’s resignation on Feb 24 was followed by his party’s exit from PH, leaving a power vacuum in Putrajaya. A scramble soon ensued among various political blocs for the numbers needed to convince the Yang di-Pertuan Agong that they have the majority support to form the next government.
On Saturday, the Agong exercised his constitutional powers by naming Muhyiddin as the eighth prime minister, after the PPBM president broke ranks with Mahathir.
The Guardian meanwhile warned that Najib Razak could “pull the strings” despite facing corruption charges, adding that “his aim will be to get off the hook”.
The paper said Muhyiddin should prove his claim of getting the majority support of MPs, but disagreed with calls to dissolve Parliament to make way for fresh polls.
“This would be a mistake, creating a vacuum for nationalist or religious demagogues to fill,” it added.