Change of leadership on the cards?

PETALING JAYA: The withdrawal of support by two Umno MPs for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in January raised the spectre that the Perikatan Nasional administration could fall but the declaration of emergency put this speculation to rest.

Now, there are rumblings and murmurs of changes in the corridors of power.

Nearly six months since the emergency began on Jan 12, the question over whether Muhyiddin has majority support in Parliament is looming once more.

The prospects of a prolonged emergency and delay in reconvening Parliament appear remote. The Malay rulers have made it clear that there is no need for an extension of the emergency and that Parliament must reconvene.

Observers saw the revered rulers’ views as a response to the worsening Covid-19 situation and the pleas of the rakyat over an economy in tatters.

Muhyiddin has said Parliament can reconvene by September or October if infections fall below the 2,000 mark, but the knocking on the door for democracy to be restored is growing louder, and some within the government believe it will not be possible for the executive to ignore them.

Already rumours abound that Muhyiddin could hand over the reins to Hishammuddin Hussein, the Umno blueblood seen as a “bridge” between his party and Muhyiddin’s Bersatu.

Though in bed together in the government, the ill-feeling and hatred between the two Malay-based parties is no longer a secret. Some believed that Hishammuddin as prime minister could buy the government some time and respite from Umno, one of the government’s biggest critics.

Still, these remain one of the many rumours out there. In the past month, several other names have cropped up, from PKR president Anwar Ibrahim to Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, but speculation of a change in guard is, however, constant.

Adding to this are murmurs from people high up in the system.

One very senior civil servant has told FMT that some of them have been asked to “be ready” for a change in leadership.

“At first, these were just whispers or doubts, and now they seem to get louder and are snowballing,” said the source, who asked not to be named.

The source said that yesterday, more top ranking officers were informed of the possible change, who then channelled the information to other offices.

Speculation, according to the source, went up a notch after the Prime Minister’s Office said Muhyiddin was admitted to hospital for diarrhoea.

“We hope he is fine. But the political situation in the country needs to be resolved as it is affecting the civil service,” the source said.

Another top-ranking officer also said he had heard the murmurs but considers these “mere rumours”.

In any case, the civil servant said, they are ready for any change, and that they just want to work under a functional government. – FMT

by Minderjeet Kaur

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