As speculations regarding general election in Malaysia gains momentum, a report has claimed that incumbent Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has experienced a resurgence of his pancreatic cancer and is seeking chemotherapy treatment.
The June 9 article by Sarawak Report also claimed that Yassin broke home-quarantine protocols to board a private jet to Singapore for his treatment on May 26. But the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) denied the claims, saying that he is in sound health, terming the report as "baseless and malicious".
"During the quarantine period, the Prime Minister strictly adhered to the SOP and did not leave his house. All official duties were conducted from home including a video conference with YB Senior Minister of Defense and Director General of Health," the statement from the PMO said.
The PMO, however, admitted that Yassin indeed had as stage 1A pancreatic cancer and had undergone treatment in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and the U.S. But he was declared cancer-free by the doctors in 2018. The PMO also attached a medical report, dated June 12, from his physician Dr Lam Kai Seng, who admitted that Yassin was fully treated and still receives regular follow-ups at Pantai Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore and the Mayo Clinic in the U.S.
As per the doctor's report, Yassin is "fit to serve the people and the nation" and they were "appalled at the false reporting that had no basis". The PMO in its statement added that such the news portal and the writer must be held accountable for false allegations and using the platform as a political tool. "This is an unnecessary distraction at a time when the country is facing an unprecedented health pandemic and monumental economic challenges ahead," it added.
Sarawak Report Sticks to its Claims
Despite PMO's clarification, the news portal denied any wrongdoing and stuck to its reportage on the matter. It claimed that the medical certificate was exaggerated as none of the doctors specialized in pancreatic cancer and asked for full disclosure from doctors at Singapore Gleneagles Hospital.
Sarawak also claimed that Dr Ampikaipakan, who has supported Dr Kai Seng's report, is Yassin's close friend. It alleged that the reports had identical wordings and were made by the PMO for the doctors to sign.
Snap Poll a Reality?
The matter of Yassin's health came at a time when analysts are suggesting that he would call for a snap poll as he doesn't have the majority in the parliament. As the economy has taken a tumble due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister would need a majority to take any decision to revive the country.
"One day the numbers are in my court and the next day, it is in your (opposition) court then it is in my court again. Let's stop this uncertainty and let's have the general elections," Former minister Mohd Nazri Aziz told Free Malaysia Today.
Yassin came to power only in March following Mahathir Mohamad's resignation due to the political crisis in Malaysia. However, Yassin may seek another general election by the end of 2020 to consolidate his power with supporting members of the parliament. He will need at least 112 lawmakers to prove his majority in the parliament.