KUALA LUMPUR — In his first speech since being sworn in as prime minister on Sunday, Muhyiddin Yassin appealed to Malaysians for a chance to govern and rejected accusations that he was a traitor who had turned on his former party colleague Mahathir Mohamad.
“Give me some time to outline a path under this new administration which I will explain to the people as soon as possible,” Muhyiddin said, speaking live on national television on Monday night. “I urge you to support me to undertake this huge responsibility entrusted on me.”
Muhyiddin said that he did not want to be prime minister but stepped forward as a power vacuum emerged in the wake of 94-year-old Mahathir’s abrupt resignation a week ago.
“What kinds of options I have? Support Dr Mahathir, who did not have the majority support or accept the PM post?” Muhyiddin asked.
Muhyiddin emerged as a contender on Friday, after Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim tussled all week for the support of the 112 parliamentarians needed to form a government.
Muhyiddin, Mahathir and Anwar were key figures in parties in the coalition government that imploded a week ago.
Shortly after Muhyiddin was nominated as prime minister by the Malaysian king, #NotMyPM began trending on local social media.
Mahathir in turn published a list of 114 lawmakers who he said supported him returning as leader. He also accused Muhyiddin of treachery and described his appointment as “strange.”
If Mahathir has the support he claims, Muhyddin could face an early vote of no-confidence once parliament reconvenes.
“I am not a traitor,” Muhyiddin said on Monday. “I am here to save the country being dragged further into crisis”.
Muhyiddin is yet to name a cabinet but said he would not include anyone accused of corruption. He is supported by the United Malays National Organisation, the party once led by former prime minister Najib Razak, who is currently on trial on charges of stealing over 700 million dollars from a state fund.Show