Opposition calls for Malaysia PM Muhyiddin to sack 2 ministers blamed for emergency bid

Several Pakatan Harapan leaders want Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali (left) and Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin removed from the Cabinet.
Several Pakatan Harapan leaders want Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali (left) and Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin removed from the Cabinet.PHOTOS: BERNAMA, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's opposition on Monday (Oct 26) called for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to sack two Cabinet ministers whom they accuse of being the masterminds behind a failed attempt to declare a state of emergency for the country.

Several Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders want Senior Minister for Economy Azmin Ali and Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin removed from the Cabinet. The opposition did not say how it concluded that the two men were behind the botched bid to get the Malaysian King to declare an emergency.

Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah on Sunday rejected the government's proposal to declare an emergency.

Datuk Seri Azmin and Datuk Seri Hamzah were the same men accused by PH of being key planners that caused the collapse of the Mahathir Mohamad administration in late February.

"To reset the scene, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should make Parliament the avenue for genuine cooperation, consultation and co-governing with the opposition for the greater good of the nation in this time of Covid-19 crisis," wrote former deputy minister in the PH government Liew Chin Tong.

"To smoothen the process, it would be very helpful if Muhyiddin offers the heads of Hamzah Zainuddin and Azmin Ali," he wrote on his blog.

"With the departures of Hamzah and Azmin from the Cabinet, cooperation among the governing PN coalition parties will improve, and a friendlier milieu for a genuine bipartisan working relationship with the opposition in time of Covid-19 crisis would be fostered," he offered.

Opposition Parti Keadilan Rakyat MP Wong Chen has also called for Mr Muhyiddin to either resign or sack the two ministers.

"If he (Muhyiddin) doesn't resign, then at least two of his senior ministers should be sacked. We know that the Prime Minister has not been in the best of health for some time and there is persistent talk that he is being influenced by these two senior ministers," Mr Wong wrote in a Facebook post.

A section of Umno, an allied party to PM Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional alliance, is also suspicious of Datuk Seri Azmin and Mr Hamzah, Mr Muhyiddin's two senior lieutenants in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. Mr Muhyiddin is Bersatu's president.

Umno supreme council member Puad Zarkashi claimed that Bersatu leaders had pointed the finger at Mr Azmin and Mr Hamzah during an emotional meeting at the Premier's residence on Sunday night, following the King's rejection of the emergency declaration.

"Is it true that they had ill-advised Muhyiddin?" he wrote on his Facebook page.

Mr Muhyiddin had attempted to convince the King last Friday to declare a state of emergency, as part of a bid to suspend Parliament and avoid the possible collapse of his government when the budget for next year isn't approved in the House.

But the national palace said in a statement: "There is no need at this time for His Majesty to declare an emergency in this country or any part of Malaysia."

Bersatu vice-president Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen said that calls for Mr Muhyiddin to step down "clearly go against and disrespect the King's decree for all parties to stop politicking".

Umno Youth, meanwhile, has called for a truce among political parties to focus on the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Politicians should... stop playing politics that could destroy the nation and burden the rakyat," said Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.