IS Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin left with the sole option of becoming a dictator to retain power?

That is the question posed by PKR grassroots leader Fazly Razally (pic) in his statement today, pointing to the regression forced upon parliament and Muhyiddin’s actions in his veering Bersatu off track, which indicate the Prime Minister is maneuvering towards a leadership withou opposition, hence a dictatorship.

Muhyiddin had on Wednesday controversially overturned Dewan Rakyat speaker Mohd Ariff Yusof’s acceptance of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s proposal for a motion of no confidence to be tabled and the May 18 parliament sitting to be extended to eight days from a single day sitting, which will now only consist of the Yang di-Pertuan Agung’s opening address and no debate nor questions and answers session.

In the meantime, Muhyiddin was also said to have called for a Bersatu supreme council meeting apparently to table the sacking of chairman Dr Mahathir and deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir, without inviting the pair, which was subsequently cancelled, with sources indicating it was due to legality issues.

Muhyiddin is also said to have convened a Bersatu meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya this week, with youth leaders seen to be clearly in the Dr Mahathir camp not invited.

Fazly said this indicated Muhyiddin’s dictatorial stance as his only option to retain power as he has shown that he intends to hold on to power by hindering or totally blocking all platforms for any opposing views to be aired.

“It wasn’t without foundation that the opposition raised the need for a parliamentary sitting. This came after the government announced the massive public spending through the purported RM250 billion economic stimulus package on March 27. As a result, various issues arose both in terms of implementation and effectiveness,” said Fazly.

“That there were issues, was confirmed by the government through various u-turns following announcements such as the well-publicised 6-month moratorium on commercial banks loan repayment, distribution and payment of the Bantuan Perihatin Nasional, procurement of critical medical supplies and more. Most importantly is that such a huge chunbk of public expenditure, according to the law of the country, needs to be tabled in parliament for approval.

“On top of all that, there are the people’s concerns and issues presented to the people’s representatives for action and solutions which need to be addressed by the related ministries through parliament. But all this is being pushed aside, supposedly to save the Prime Minister’s position from a vote of no confidence,” said Fazly.

Fazly raised the matter of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, as opposition leader, repeatedly assuring Muhyiddin that any motion for a vote of no confidence would not arise and urged him to convene a full parliamentary sitting, the latest such statement coming on April 14.

“It would have been so simple. With the current technology, there isn’t even a need for a physical assembly in Dewan Rakyat, as we have seen many countries conducting their parliamentary sitting online through video conference applications. Muhyiddin should have accepted Anwar’s offer. However, he delayed and day after day his position regressed towards becoming untenable,” said Fazly.

“He then hid dehind the narrative of calling for the opposition to stop playing politics and focus on fighting the Covid 19 pandemic, while Perikatan Nasional itself conspired behind the scenes to unsurp state governments in Kedah and Selangor, and there has been talk of such moves in Negeri Sembilan as well.

“All this happened after they succeeded in taking over the Perak and Johor governments, all while the country battled Covid 19. This was all done during a time when Muhyiddin himself appeared on television hiding behind the “rakyat” who he said were fed up of politics and wanted to see what the government could do.”

Fazly said that it was such actions that drove the move to unseat Muhyiddin in order to restore order at least in parliament.

On May 7, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad proposed a motion of no confidence vote to be tabled in parliament to speaker Mohd Ariff Yusof, in addition for the May 18 parliament sitting to be extended to 8 days from a day. Both proposals were accepted by Mohd Ariff.

However, on May 13, Mohd Ariff issued a statement amending the May 18 sitting to one day and restricted it to only consist of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s opening address on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

“Thus, there will only be a speech by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. What sort of parliament sitting is this?” quipped Fazly.

Presiding over what is currently deemed an illegitimate goverment, Muhyiddin then sought to consolidate his power in Bersatu by holding meetings in the Prime Minister’s Department with the party’s leadership, the legitimacy of which are also questionable as Dr Mahathir himself pointed out in a video statement yesterday, in which he highlighted possible breaches of Bersatu’s own constitution.

On Thursday, 15 Bersatu youth leaders lodged complaints to the party’s disciplinary committee over Muhyiddin following the spread of a video recording alleged to be Muhyiddin, which hinted that even the decision to withdraw Bersatu from Pakatan Harapan on February 24 had gone against the party’s constitution.

“In fact, an attempt to hold a supreme council meeting for the ouster of its chairman Tun Dr Mahathir and deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir had to be canceled at the last minute, said to be for legal reasons, after it was discovered Tun Dr Mahathir and Mukhriz were not invited,” said Fazly.

“Muhyiddin seems to have been shaken not only in Putrajaya, but his position in Bersatu also seems to be blurred, where he has to try to organise meetings to propose critical actions such as the sacking of the chairman and his deputy president without their involvement, let alone opposition. The reasoning of Covid 19 and the Movement Control Order (MCO) for the restrictions on parliament, when the supermarkets and the various industries are open and when Muhyiddin himself has chaired Bersatu meetings, are hard to accept.

“The Prime Minister’s actions are very worrying. In view of all the turmoil that has arisen in national politics today, Muhyiddin seems to be indicating that the solution at hand is simply to engage the concept of dictatorship and dominate the coffers and administrative power of the country without any room for questioning, debate or opposition. That really seems to be what he’s doing.

“The question that must now arise in the minds of the people is, how long this shall be tolerated.”

Is Muhyiddin set to become a dictator?