One must be absolutely ethical to live up to democratic ideals and values. Without it, anything goes. We have seen that since February 2020.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s majority support was apparently dubious when he was appointed the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He did nothing to dispel this negative perception, neither did he prove in any positive manner that he enjoyed majority support.
He has consistently and persistently refused to subject himself to a vote of confidence in Parliament to claim the moral high ground to become the legitimate PM of this nation and hold up his head in dignity.
Now, Muhyiddin’s position has become untenable with Machang MP Ahmad Jazlan Yaakub from Kelantan openly withdrawing his support for the Perikatan Nasional government. Muhyiddin can no longer pretend to have majority support in Parliament to exercise his right to exist as the lawful PM of this country. He is seen as clinging to power without legitimacy.
In keeping with Article 45 (4) of the Federal Constitution which states: “If the prime minister no longer has the trust of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat, then the prime minister must resign from the cabinet unless at his request Parliament is dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.”
Muhyiddin has a moral duty to vacate his post immediately. Alternatively, he can show respect to the democratic tradition and subject himself to a vote of confidence in order to remain as PM. For this, he has to urgently arrange to convene a special sitting of Parliament and subject himself to this test. But will he do this honourable thing?
Are we expecting too much from him? He ‘stole’ the people’s government with no qualms. Will he now respect the constitutional provision which nullifies his right to be the PM and leave honourably? In this challenging moment, his conduct will reveal the measure of the man.
We hope he will be guided by this saying from Robert Tew: “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.”