Kuala Lumpur: Former Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was officially sworn in as Malaysias eighth Prime Minister on Sunday even as former leader Mahathir Mohamad claimed he had the majority support to govern.
The oath-taking ceremony took place just after 10.30 a.m. in the presence of King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the National Palace, where the new leader wore a traditional black outfit and was accompanied by his wife, Noorainee Abdul Rahman, reports Efe news.
Following a week of political upheaval after the February 24 resignation of Mahathir, the National Palace issued a statement on Saturday saying the king had agreed to appoint the 72-year-old Muhyiddin, also a former Deputy Prime Minister (2009-2015).
The King believed that after receiving a list of nominees from party leaders and independent MPs, Muhyiddin looked to have the majority support needed in parliament.
“(The King) said the appointment of the prime minister cannot be delayed for the sake and wellbeing of the nation… He believes this is the best decision for everyone and hopes this puts an end to the political crisis at the moment,” Royal Household Comptroller Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said in the statement.
In the wake of the announcement, Mahathir released a list of 115 MPs late Saturday night to show he commanded the support of Parliament’s majority, which he intended to take to the King.
However, in a press conference early Sunday, Mahathir said the King had refused to grant him an audience and insisted that Muhyiddin does not have the numbers to govern.
“Muhyiddin does not have the majority support to become the new prime minister,” he said, according to state media outlet Bernama.
Two of the MPs on the list of 115 have since denied supporting Mahathir, according to local media.
Muhyiddin was removed from Dy.PM post in 2015
Muhyiddin was removed from the post of Deputy Prime Minister in 2015 when he fell out with then-leader Najib Razak over the handling of the 1MDB corruption scandal, which he is currently on trial for.
He later joined Mahathir’s Bersatu, which ousted Najib, his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party and the Barisan Nasional coalition from power in the March 2018 elections.
In a twist, Muhyiddin has again linked up with UMNO to rise to power.
It is to be seen whether his appointment, as opposed to an election, will be challenged in Parliament.