Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin stepped down from office amid months of political turmoil.
The Malaysian Premier’s resignation ends a rocky 17 months in office that led to him losing his majority. His term is the shortest term of any Malaysian prime minister.
Muhyiddin said he resigned along with his cabinet after losing majority support in parliament.
“I hope a new government can be formed immediately so that the administration of this country is not disrupted,” he said in a televised speech.
“The next two months is crucial as we expect to achieve herd immunity in October,” he added.
According to the PM himself, the recent crisis was brought on by his refusal of certain demands such as dropping graft charges against some individuals.
Muhyiddin has been appointed as the caretaker prime minister by the King until a successor is found, however no fixed timeline has been given.
King Al-Sultan Abdullah ruled out elections because of the pandemic and said he would invoke his constitutional power to appoint a prime minister he believes is likely to command a majority.
It is unclear who could form the next government, as no lawmaker has a clear majority in parliament. The opposition bloc and the biggest party are split on support for their prime ministerial candidates.
However, the post is likely to return to Malaysia’s ‘grand old party’ the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). The party was voted out in a 2018 election but remained influential.
The move hampers efforts to reboot a pandemic-stricken economy and curb a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. Malaysia’s infections and deaths per million rank as the region’s highest in the pandemic.
The country’s ringgit currency also fell to its lowest in one year on the news and the stock market (.KLSE) slipped.
According to Nik Ahmad Kamal Nik Mahmod, a law expert at the International Islamic University of Malaysia, top contenders to be prime minister include Muhyiddin’s deputy Ismail Sabri Yaakob, veteran lawmaker Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and former foreign minister Hishammuddin Hussein, all from UMNO.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could also have a chance at the post.