Malaysia's PM Muhyiddin says he will call for general election once Covid-19 pandemic is over

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin noted the "difficult and challenging situation" faced by his Perikatan Nasional government. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Saturday (Nov 28) that he would call for a general election once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

He noted the "difficult and challenging situation" faced by his Perikatan Nasional (PN) government which has a slim majority in Parliament, as it is often buffeted by issues raised by both the opposition and PN's ally Umno.

Among issues often played up by the opposition and Umno are the need to call for national polls, as PN holds a slim majority in Parliament, a regular cause of tensions in the eight-month-old government.

"When the Covid-19 pandemic is over, we will hold the general election.

"We will return the mandate to the rakyat (people) and let them make the decision on which government they want," he said in a speech at a virtual annual general meeting of his own party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

Tan Sri Muhyiddin said that PN will enter the next general election using its own logo.

PN has 14 parties under its wing, but has only four official members including Bersatu and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

The other 10 parties, including Umno and Gabungan Parti Sarawak, are PN's allies but not official PN members.

PN has a total of 112 MPs in Parliament, the minimum needed to control the 222-strong House.

PM Muhyiddin said that though there might be some bad blood between Bersatu and Umno, fate had brought the two Malay parties together and they needed to make it work.

He said he recently met Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for discussions and they agreed to fix the poor ties between the two biggest parties in PN.

Umno has 38 MPs and Bersatu 31.

An Umno MP died recently, and a by-election is slated to be held in January.

Umno often complains about not getting a bigger share of key ministerial posts despite having the most number of legislators.

Mr Muhyiddin said both Zahid and himself also agreed on the need to strengthen ties with the third major Malay party in PN, PAS, which has 18 MPs.

"Another thing we agreed on is to strengthen the relationship between Bersatu, Umno and PAS.

"These three parties must strengthen and stabilise each other. We cannot fracture, we cannot clash and we cannot choose different paths," Mr Muhyiddin said.

The three parties have separately formed Muafakat National (National Consensus), a coalition to corral the votes of the Malays, the majority race in South-east Asia's third-biggest economy.

Mr Muhyiddin in his speech also suggested the formation of a presidential council consisting of party leaders within the PN government.

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