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MP Syed Saddiq’s departure leaves Malaysian Ruling Government one seat short of crucial majority in Parliament

Malaysia’s Unity Government, led by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, faces a setback with the departure of Muda president Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Saddiq cited dissatisfaction with the suspension of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s corruption trial, leaving the government one seat shy of a two-thirds majority in Parliament.



MALAYSIA: Malaysia was rocked by the surprise resignation of Member of Parliament (MP) Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who announced his departure from the ruling government, citing deep dissatisfaction with the abrupt suspension of Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s ongoing corruption trial.

In a video statement released on Sunday (10 Sept), the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda) president described his decision as a “tough” one but asserted that it was an inevitable step to take.

Syed Saddiq emphasised that the government’s decision to drop all 47 corruption charges against Zahid had placed the Muda party in an untenable position within the ruling coalition.

The move has generated substantial controversy and raised concerns about the integrity of Malaysia’s justice system.

“I will never allow Malaysia to normalise corruption,” he said, adding that Muda would continue to support all efforts at institutional reform.

The political landscape in Malaysia is expected to undergo significant changes in the wake of Syed Saddiq’s resignation, with the country’s political future hanging in the balance.

“A letter has been sent to the Dewan Rakyat (Malaysian Parliament) speaker on the matter. The road ahead will be long and lonely but worth it, as Malaysia will always come first.”

“Who would have thought that it would be this so-called reform government that would end up dropping corruption charges for the sake of power?” The Muar MP said in the video clip announcing the decision.

As Muda’s sole Parliamentarian, Syed Saddiq said his party would focus on being the “third force” in the opposition bloc and “as the voice of the people” to provide check and balance.

One seat short of a two-thirds majority

Muda’s exit leaves the ruling coalition with 147 seats in Dewan Rakyat, one seat short of a two-thirds majority – just a day after Pakatan Harapan (PH) retained the supermajority by winning the Pulai seat in Johor in a by-election.

The Muda decision came on the eve of a special session of Parliament today for the mid-term review of the 12th Malaysia Plan.

The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat will decide where Syed Saddiq will now be seated.

Syed Saddiq added that this was not the first time he had made a decision based on his principles, and said during the Sheraton Move in 2020, he had been offered positions as a minister and as a chairman in a government-linked company, but had turned them down.

“Threatened? I fought back. I fought back because I want to build a Malaysia that has dignity and integrity.

“I will not and will never allow Malaysia to normalise corruption. I am a proud Malaysian who wants to see this blessed country become a developed country which upholds the rule of law and celebrates Malaysia’s diversity,” said Syed Saddiq.

Although he had made this decision, he said Muda would continue to support all efforts of institutional form and issues concerning the people.

Will not negotiate further

On Sunday, a Muda division leader, who requested anonymity, reportedly said the party would not negotiate any further and would exit the ruling coalition.

Muda secretary-general Amir Hadi said that the party might consider leaving after Zahid’s discharge brought to a halt a four-year-long trial on 47 charges involving embezzlement, abuse of power and bribery.

Leaders from unity government parties, such as Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi, responded by challenging Muda to quit the unity government if it was brave enough.

Muda holds one seat in the Dewan Rakyat through Syed Saddiq, who has represented Muar, a constituency in Johor, since 2018.

While the opposition comprises Perikatan Nasional (PN), with 74 seats through PAS (43) and Bersatu (31).

Syed Saddiq was elected on a PH ticket while a member of Bersatu, which was then part of the coalition. He left Bersatu after it left PH, causing the fall of the PH government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and set up Muda.

At the general election last November, he was re-elected as a Muda candidate by a narrow majority of 1,345 votes against challengers from PN and Barisan Nasional.

Yesterday, Democratic Action Party’s (DAP) secretary-general Loke Siew Fook, in urging Muda to make a decision on the party’s role, reminded Syed Saddiq that he was only able to retain the Muar seat because PH agreed to step aside and support him.

MPs told Syed Saddiq to vacate Muar seat

Syed Saddiq was challenged to vacate his parliamentary seat and force a by-election, following Muda’s decision to end support for the ruling government also known as the unity government.

The decision left the government without a two-thirds majority in the Dewan Rakyat, just a day after PH had restored the supermajority by winning the Pulai parliamentary seat in a by-election.

A party in the ruling coalition, DAP member RSN Rayer said the loss of the two-thirds majority due to Muda’s exit would hurt efforts to carry out legal and political reforms that require constitutional amendments.

The MP for Jelutong, Penang, expressed disappointment that Muda had left the day after the Pulai success. “Why are they doing it now after the people of Johor have shown us that they want a stable (unity) government?” Rayer said.

Another MP from PH, R Yuneswaran of PKR, said Syed Saddiq must vacate the Muar seat because he had won by partnering with PH.

“Muar folks voted for him simply because he was with PH, and PH voters will be very disappointed with him now,” Yuneswaran quoted by FMT.

Yuneswaran, who is MP for Segamat, Johor, said PH would want to have a by-election in Muar.

However, Hassan Karim, a member of People’s Justice Party (PKR) founded by Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said that he respected Muda’s decision and conveyed his good wishes to Syed Saddiq and the party.

“It is a good development if Muda wants to build a ‘third force’ in Malaysian politics by giving healthy competition to the PH-BN alliance and PN.

“A third force that comprises Muda and Parti Sosialis Malaysia is a healthy development in Malaysian politics that would give wider options to Malaysians,” said Hassan, a MP of Pasir Gudang, Johor.

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