#NotMyPM trends on Malaysia's Twitter, while others voice support for new PM Muhyiddin

Malaysia's new Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin waves to media after his inauguration ceremony as the country's eighth prime minister, outside the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on March 1, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - The appointment of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as Malaysia's eighth Prime Minister has struck a raw nerve with many Malaysians, who took to social media to voice their unhappiness.

The hashtag #NotMyPM trended to the top of Malaysia's Twitter with 47,000 tweets, moments after the King's announcement that Mr Muhyiddin would be sworn in on Sunday (March 1).

Mr Aaron Denison said: "As a Malaysian, I never voted for a corrupt government but instead voted for change. I stand by the government I voted for in #GE14. Sorry TSMY, you are #NotMyPM and I am absolutely saying NO to your #backdoorgovt. #Malaysia and its people deserve better."

Ms Sharifah Hani Yasmin warned in a tweet: "A government not voted in by its own citizens. One day, the rakyat will rise. #NotMyPM"

Malaysia has been left both transfixed and frustrated at the political turmoil that engulfed the country since last Monday when Pakatan Harapan (PH) ally Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and 11 Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) lawmakers left the coalition, triggering a collapse of the PH administration which has run the country since the May 2018 election.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister last Monday, setting off a week-long search for a new premier and government that ended on Saturday when Malaysia's King, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Ahmad Shah, announced that Mr Muhyiddin had the support of Parliament.

Mr Muhyiddin is backed by a coalition dominated by former opposition parties Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), which were defeated at the 2018 general election. This has led to his administration being referred to as a "backdoor government".

Analysts say the trending hashtag does not necessarily represent the views of the majority.

"I think they are mostly from ardent supporters of PH who voted for it in last election. While there are a lot of people who don't like this new government, there are equally a lot who do," said Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

Others say the #NotMyPM hashtag disrespects the King's decision to appoint Mr Muhyiddin.

Mr Harmanaath Paramesvaraja said Malaysians should put their faith in the country's leaders and respect the King's decision.

"This #NotMyPM hashtag (is) kinda rude to be honest, cross (the) mark. Please respect our Agong's decision. If you didn't support also never mind but don't create this type of hashtag. Respect Agong's decision," he tweeted.

A Twitter user called Farhanisme clarified that the hashtag was in no way being disrespectful of the King.

"Just because we dislike Muhyiddin to become PM, it doesn't mean we don't respect the Constitution nor the YDPA (Yang di-Pertuan Agong), we just feel upset of how politicians betrayed us by doing a backdoor government and choose to unite with kleptocrats. #NotMyPM."

There were those who rallied around Mr Muhyiddin, congratulating him and voicing their hopes that he would make Malaysia a better place.

A Twitter user called Mira posted a picture of a smiling Mr Muhyiddin with the words congratulations next to him.

"Our new Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. Very well deserved. May he lead for a better Malaysia," she tweeted.

Meanwhile, a Ms Lucy Barrock said she believes Mr Muhyiddin has what it takes to lead the country.

"#MuhyiddinYassin can win the next general election based on his performance in this period by distancing himself from the tainted, having a people's Cabinet, coming down hard on corruption and party hopping," she said.

Dr Mustafa Izzuddin, a research fellow with the National University of Singapore's Institute of South Asian Studies said Mr Muhyiddin now has the opportunity to rise above party politics and focus on governing the country.

"He has to let his actions and outcomes do the talking in reversing the negative perceptions about him and demonstrating that he is the right person to bring unity and stability to Malaysia," he said.

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