Police officers across Malaysia are not allowed to go on leave until further notice.
This was announced in a circular from the Royal Malaysian Police Headquarters that was made public this morning, which also indicated that the country was in a state of alert. It did not explicitly mention the reason for this decision, which came as the crisis surrounding Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s leadership heightened.
“The freezing of leave is to ensure all senior police officers and lower-ranking officers are in a state of readiness and can be mobilized at any time,” the circular said. It was signed by Bukit Aman management director Zaini Jass.
Exceptions will be made on compassionate grounds or for emergency situations, “subject to the agreement and approval of the respective department heads.”
The leave freeze will affect 80% of the 137,500-strong force and also applies to applications for domestic, foreign, and inter-district travels, according to the circular. All police department directors, state commissioners, and police chiefs were required to disseminate the directive and ensure compliance.
Muhyiddin’s premiership is on tenterhooks after over a dozen members of UMNO, the largest political party in his Perikatan Nasional government, and Members of Parliament withdrew their support last week, effectively causing him to lose his majority in the lower Parliament house.
The king had asked Parliament Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun to disclose the number of parliamentarians who support Muhyiddin, according to yesterday’s reports. Opposition MPs had also sent letters to the palace to indicate that they were no longer supporting Muhyiddin and his government.
Despite a series of protests calling on him to resign, Muhyiddin has refused to step down and insisted that he still had majority support. He even announced that there will be a vote of confidence to determine his legitimacy when Parliament reconvenes in September.
The opposition bloc has 105 MPs from Pakatan Harapan, Pejuang, Warisan, Parti Sarawak Bersatu, and MUDA. This includes former education minister Maszlee Malik, who is an independent. With the 15 MPs from UMNO, those against Muhyiddin add up to 120 out of the total 220 MPs, leaving the prime minister with only 100 supporters.
Two seats – Gerik and Batu Sapi – remain vacant following the death of the two MPs late last year. There are 222 seats in the Malaysian Parliament.