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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Muhyiddin may use Takiyuddin as sacrificial lamb, says analyst


Muhyiddin Yassin may need to admit that it was an honest mistake to announce the revocation hastily, instead of going head-to-head with the Palace, says analyst. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Facing the wrath of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong over the repeal of emergency ordinances, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin may have to offer up a sacrificial lamb to weather the storm, according to political analyst Azmi Hassan.

Speaking to FMT, Azmi said the honourable thing would be for Muhyiddin to step down after the royal rebuke, but this was not likely to happen as indicated by a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) saying the King had to follow the prime minister’s advice.

“Instead of Muhyiddin resigning, there may be a scapegoat to take the blame,” the academic said. “That scapegoat may be Takiyuddin Hassan.”

The law minister was the person who stunned the Dewan Rakyat last Monday when he announced that all emergency ordinances had been revoked on July 21.

Azmi Hassan.

Istana Negara subsequently issued a media statement on Thursday saying the government did not get the King’s consent to revoke the ordinances.

The PMO is insisting it followed the Federal Constitution in informing the King about the revocation and “laying it” before the Dewan Rakyat by placing documents on the MPs’ tables.

That has not satisfied anyone and Azmi said a fall guy is now needed to deflect Umno’s pressure for the prime minister to resign.

To stop the pressure, Azmi said, “a sacrificial lamb will be needed.”

Analyst Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya (UM) said Muhyiddin needed to put up a smart fight to survive the political storm.

Awang Azman Pawi.

“The war is with the surging of Covid cases and the struggling economy, not with the palace,” he said.

“Muhyiddin needs to admit it was an honest mistake to announce the revocation hastily.”

He said the governing Perikatan Nasional-led coalition was in a fragile state and could not afford to go head-to-head with the Palace.

“Muhyiddin needs to be humble if he plans to stay on. Or it may be best to have an interim prime minister.”

Constitutional expert Bastion Pius Vendargon said the Cabinet should not consider the monarch as a mere rubber stamp.

He said the King had powers to seek clarification and the PMO was wrong in saying it had followed the country’s laws and constitution.

Bastion Pius Vendargon.

“The government announced the emergency in January after advising the King, with the King releasing a statement, and the same should be done when revoking the ordinances,” he told FMT.

He said that although the prime minister’s position remained unchanged despite the royal rebuke, the government had stretched the Federal Constitution and misinterpreted it.

He added that Takiyuddin remained innocent until proven guilty but could be referred to the parliamentary rights and privileges committee for misleading the Dewan Rakyat.

As for speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, he said action could be taken against him if he were found to be complicit with the government in the matter.

But the only way out of the deepening constitutional storm, Vendargon said, was for the King to again speak to MPs individually and see if the government still had the majority to run the country. Conversely, he could allow the Dewan Rakyat to have a vote of no confidence against the prime minister.

The King could also, under Article 130 of the constitution, refer the matter to the Federal Court for its views. - FMT

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