Malaysian deputy minister resigns, says it is mistake to back PM Muhyiddin's government

Dr Shahruddin Salleh has not clarified if he will remain a government backbencher. PHOTO: DR SHAHRUDDIN MD SALLEH/FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR - 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 that is now barely clinging on to power.

In a short statement Thursday (June 4), the Sri Gading MP said: "I 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 most of the lawmakers from their Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to defect 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 on Thursday evening.

Opposition figures now claim the PN alliance is backed by only 112 MPs, the bare minimum needed for a simple majority in Parliament.

Tun Dr Mahathir, whose PH government was toppled just 21 months after it won the election in May 2018, 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 in March and May have so far been postponed, leaving the Muhyiddin administration's majority untested.

Mr Muhyiddin, Bersatu's president, was sworn in as premier on March 1 after a week-long political crisis sparked by Bersatu's departure from PH and Tun Dr Mahathir's resignation as prime minister.

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 veteran politician and parliamentary Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim have also staked his claim to the top job.

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