Malaysia's new prime minister delays parliament session by two months

Malaysia's Prime Minister Designate and former interior minister Muhyiddin Yassin waves to reporters before his inauguration as the 8th prime minister, outside his residence in Kuala Lumpur

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's new prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has postponed the start of parliamentary proceedings by two months, the speaker said on Wednesday, amid opposition efforts to challenge his government with a confidence vote.

Muhyiddin was sworn in on Sunday after a week of political turmoil triggered by the abrupt resignation of 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad.

King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah appointed Muhyiddin as the prime minister, saying he believed Muhyiddin possibly had the support of a majority in parliament.

But Mahathir's coalition has said they have the majority and vowed to bring a confidence vote in parliament when it reconvened on March 9.

Speaker Mohamad Ariff Md. Yusof said in a statement that he has received a letter from Muhyiddin stating the session will instead start on May 18.

Muhyiddin, a former interior minister in Mahathir's cabinet, joined hands with the UMNO party - which lost federal power in the 2018 election - and Islamist party PAS to form a new coalition.

His move came after the resignation of Mahathir, who then tried out to form a national unity government that would have given him greater powers but got little support from politicians.

Mahathir went back to partner with his old rival Anwar Ibrahim to stop Muhyiddin but the king's decision to appoint the latter put an end to the efforts.


(Reporting by Joseph Sipalan and Liz Lee; writing by A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Raju Gopalakrishnan)