July 07, 2021
Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (left) said Tan Sri Muhyiddin (right) has failed to fulfil the conditions underlined by Umno when it backed him to become Prime Minister. PHOTOS: UMNO, REUTERS
By Simon Roughneen | Australian Associated Press
The biggest party in Malaysia’s ruling coalition is pulling out of government and has demanded Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resign, its leader says.
“The government’s failure to meet the aspirations of the people led UMNO to withdraw support immediately,” said Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, president of the United Malays National Organisation.
The announcement came despite Muhyiddin earlier in the day promoting two of UMNO’s leading lights.
Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed deputy premier and Foreign Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was given a wide-ranging security and foreign affairs brief and named senior minister.
UMNO had for months been threatening to pull out of government and recently endorsed calls by the opposition and King Abdullah for Muhyiddin to reinstate parliament, which has been suspended since January due to the government imposing emergency rule.
UMNO’s withdrawal comes almost two months into a third coronavirus lockdown, restrictions that the government said would remain in place until daily virus case numbers dropped to 4000.
More than 7000 cases were reported by the Health Ministry on Tuesday after more than 100 virus-related deaths were announced the day before.
According to Ahmad Zahid, “the government’s failure to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic effectively has caused serious anxiety and depression among the people”.