Malaysian PM unseats house speaker in vote seen as crucial test of support

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin cleared a major hurdle in parliament on Monday, as lawmakers narrowly approved a motion to remove the lower house speaker, in a vote seen as an important barometer of his support.

While not officially a confidence vote, the outcome was the first real measure of how much legislative backing Muhyiddin could muster to push through policies and government business.

A total of 111 lawmakers supported Muhyiddin’s bid to remove Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof, who was appointed by the previous administration led by Mahathir Mohamad, while 109 voted against the move.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy has been grappling with political and policy uncertainty since Muhyiddin, who was part of Mahathir’s administration, was unexpectedly made prime minister in March after forging an alliance with the graft-tainted UMNO party that was defeated in a 2018 election.

(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan; Editing by Martin Petty)

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