Muhyiddin can switch back to PH and form govt, says ex-judge

Retired judge Gopal Sri Ram says it is entirely constitutional for Muhyiddin to form a PH government with ministers of his choice.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin could return to Pakatan Harapan (PH) and form his Cabinet that included opposition MPs and technocrats, retired judge Gopal Sri Ram said.

“There is nothing unconstitutional in the current prime minister returning to PH and forming a new government that commands the confidence of the majority of the Dewan Rakyat,” he said.

Sri Ram said Article 43 (2) (a) of the Federal Constitution did not recognise political parties but MPs for the king’s consideration in appointing a prime minister.

That provision states that the king appoints as prime minister a member of the Dewan Rakyat who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority.

He said the king appointed Muhyiddin as the monarch believed he had the support of the majority of the 222 MPs.

Sri Ram said this in response to Amanah’s Khalid Samad who claimed that Muhyiddin, who is PPBM president, had approached PH leaders to be part of his future Cabinet under his Perikatan Nasional government but none of the former ministers wanted to accept the offer.

He further claimed that he had sent a text message to Muhyiddin, telling him that he had betrayed PH by taking PPBM out of the coalition and joining forces with Umno and PAS.

Khalid said he told Muhyiddin that he could also betray Perikatan Nasional. “Tan Sri (Muhyiddin) you have betrayed PH, now you should betray Perikatan Nasional, then it’s fair. Tan Sri bring PPBM back into PH,” he said.

Sri Ram said it was entirely constitutional for Muhyiddin to form a PH government with ministers of his choice.

“Those MPs from PH supporting him must put the interests of our country before party and personal interests. They should not clamour for Cabinet posts or make demands for positions,” he said.

He said the prime minister could also look for MPs from the opposition and even appoint capable individuals as senators to help him run the government.

“The PM could then convene a Dewan Rakyat session to test a vote of confidence in his government,” he said, adding that this frequently happened in state legislatures in India.

After the 2018 general election, PH, which consisted of PPBM, PKR, DAP and Amanah, was voted into federal power after winning 123 seats that included 10 from its allies in Sabah.

PPBM chairman and Langkawi MP Dr Mahathir Mohamad was appointed prime minister.

However, on Feb 24, the PH government collapsed following the resignation of Mahathir and after PPBM left the coalition.

On March 1, the king appointed Muhyiddin prime minister and the opposition now intends to move a no-confidence vote against the Pagoh MP when the House convenes.