KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 (Xinhua) -- Muhyiddin Yassin, a former deputy prime minister, took the oath of office on Sunday to become Malaysia's new prime minister.
Muhyiddin was appointed following the abrupt resignation of 94-year-old Mahathir Mohamad, who had been in office since the general elections in 2018.
TV live-broadcast showed that Muhyiddin, wearing traditional Malay clothes, pledged to serve the country and the people well before Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the national palace.
The ceremony was attended by Muhyiddin's political allies.
Muhyiddin, 72, had served as deputy prime minister under former Prime Minister Najib Razak from 2009 to 2015. He later co-founded Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) with Mahathir and served as its president, joining the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to win the general election in 2018.
He served as home minister in Mahathir's cabinet.
On the same day of Mahathir's abrupt resignation on Feb. 24, Muhyiddin announced as party president that PPBM is pulling out of the PH coalition, costing its majority in the lower house of parliament.
Muhyiddin later won support from major opposition including the Barisan Nasional led by the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and became a leading candidate as prime minister.
In a statement on Saturday, the national palace said that Sultan Abdullah felt Muhyiddin might command majority in the lower house of parliament, hence agreeing to appoint him as prime minister in accordance with the constitution.
However, Mahathir, who again became PH's candidate for prime minister earlier Saturday, unveiled a list of some 115 members of parliament (MP) whom he said support him to be prime minister, hence that he command the majority in the 222-seat lower house of the parliament.
In a press conference on Sunday, Mahathir called for an early parliament sitting so that the MPs could demonstrate if Muhyiddin command the majority.
According to Malaysia's constitution, the King shall appoint a prime minister who in his judgement is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the house. The constitution also stipulates that if the prime minister ceases to command the majority, the prime minister shall tender the resignation of the cabinet unless at his request the King dissolves the parliament.