Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will introduce his new cabinet members in the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on March 9, 2020.

Mohd Rasfan | AFP | Getty Images

Malaysia’s embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said Wednesday he would face a confidence vote when parliament convenes again in September to prove the legitimacy of his leadership and government.

The Malaysian parliament has never voted on a vote of confidence against a prime minister.

Muhyiddin, who came to power in March last year, ruled with a wafer-thin majority in parliament with 222 seats. Ever since Muhyiddin became prime minister, he has tried to avoid parliamentary votes that his political opponents could use as a proxy for a vote of no confidence in his leadership.

The Prime Minister has faced increasing pressure over the past week – including from his allies – to resign. It did so after the Malaysian king issued a rare public reprimand for the government to repeal the emergency laws without the consent of the palace, as required by the constitution.

The King of Malaysia is a constitutional monarch and is revered by the country’s multi-ethnic population.

In a televised address on Wednesday, Muhyiddin said he had been informed by the king that eight MPs had withdrawn their support for the government.

But Muhyiddin claimed he still had a majority in parliament and proposed that he prove his legitimacy as the country’s leader through a vote of confidence next month. Muhyiddin said the king had accepted his proposal.

Malaysia has plunged into political crisis since the sudden resignation of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in February last year. The latest political dispute has come as the country battles its worst Covid-19 outbreak.

The daily newly reported Covid infections in the Southeast Asian country rose above the 10,000 mark for the first time in mid-July – and have since remained there despite lockdown measures and a state of emergency to curb the spread of the virus.

The Malaysian Ministry of Health said Tuesday that Covid cases are estimated to remain around 17,000 per day. It predicted daily infections would peak in mid-September before declining to around 1,000 cases per day in October.

The country has vaccinated around 22% of its population, the Ministry of Health said.