After a rare royal rebuke, Malaysia’s Prime Minister has been urged to resign.
Malaysia’s embattled leader was charged with treason and called to resign after the king publicly chastised his crisis-plagued administration for misleading parliament, a rare public reprimand from the respected monarch.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is the leader of a scandal-plagued coalition that grabbed power without holding elections last year, but his government is on the verge of collapsing after partners withdrew support.
After a months-long suspension under a viral state of emergency, which opponents argued was an attempt by Muhyiddin to keep power, Parliament reconvened this week.
The law minister declared on Monday that the state of emergency would end on August 1 and that certain regulations implemented under it would be repealed.
Rival MPs were enraged, alleging Muhyiddin was only trying to avoid a debate — and it was unclear whether the monarch had agreed to abolish the emergency laws, as the constitution requires.
The royal palace revealed on Thursday that Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the king, had not given his consent and expressed his “deep sadness.”
The declaration that the restrictions will be repealed was “inaccurate” and “confused the members of parliament,” according to a palace statement.
It “did not merely fail to respect the principles of the sovereignty of the law,” it added, “but it also compromised his majesty’s functions and powers as head of state.”
It is unusual for Malaysia’s constitutional monarch, who is adored throughout the Muslim-majority country, to express such strong opposition to the administration.
The legislature exploded in fury when the royal declaration was released, with opposition benches calling for “treason” and “resignation.”
Muhyiddin’s government had “gone against the constitution, insulted the institution of the constitutional monarchy, and confused parliament,” according to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
The premier did not respond right away, and it was unclear whether the rebuke would have any effect.
The emergency regulations provide authorities more powers to punish viral rule offenders, as well as other tools to combat the pandemic.
Even once the emergency is lifted, the country will remain under heavy lockdown as the disease worsens.