KOTA KINABALU, Oct 11 — Caretaker prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob must accept full responsibility for triggering the 15th general election that could coincide with the year-end monsoon season, said Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Criticising Ismail Sabri for deflecting the blame onto him, Muhyiddin said it was solely the prime minister’s prerogative to decide when to dissolve Parliament.

“I think it is very much irresponsible of him to put the blame on me and members of the Cabinet for what is happening now — because they are facing attacks from the public at large over why the election is being held now in the midst of this flooding,” he said.

“He cannot say he was forced by anyone because we tried our best to say it is not a good idea to have an election now. We are voicing the people’s concerns; who wants to have an election during the floods?” he said.

He was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Sabah Chief Minister and state Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman Datuk Hajiji Noor.

Muhyiddin also pointed out that he had an agreement with Ismail Sabri, prior to making way as the prime minister, that any decision to dissolve Parliament should be discussed with the PN leaders beforehand.

“This is because we are the biggest component in the ruling party. So, is it fair? It’s not fair. So now that people are angry and he is being attacked, he wants to blame me and the PN ministers.

“You have to blame yourself. You have to bear the burden of the people who are unhappy. Whatever it is, it’s his responsibility as prime minister what he does. You cannot blame other people, only yourself,” he said.

Muhyiddin said that the argument was moot now as the Agong has used his discretion to give consent for the dissolution.

Earlier today, Ismail Sabri blamed PN’s open hostility towards Barisan Nasional and its undermining of the government for forcing him into dissolving Parliament.

He cited the example of Muhyiddin’s open declaration that his coalition considered BN its main enemy for the 15th general election, despite being partners in the current government and also the letter from 12 PN ministers to reject the dissolution of Parliament.

After Ismail Sabri announced the dissolution of Parliament yesterday, Istana Negara released a statement saying the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was disappointed with political developments in the country and had no choice but to give royal assent to dissolve Parliament.

It has also been widely reported that Ismail Sabri was under great pressure from his party to hold elections before the year ends.

The 14th Parliament would have lasted until next July had it not been dissolved before then, allowing for GE15 to be held as last as September.