Malaysian PM forced to use real name on official documents after court order signed under common name

The Malaysian government issued a directive ordering all officials to use the legal spelling of the prime minister’s name, after a court previously overturned a detention order signed by the leader using his more well-known unofficial spelling.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s office asked all officials in a circular earlier this month to use his real name, Mahiaddin Yasin, in all official documents.

He said this was following advice from the attorney general’s office, but did not give details.

Mahiaddin is the leader’s birth name, but he has been known as Muhyiddin throughout his long political career.

Although pronounced slightly differently, both are variations of the same name.

News of the government directive was first reported on Wednesday.

The move came after a High Court in April revoked a detention order the prime minister signed using his unofficial spelling and released a man detained for allegedly distributing drugs.

The Prime Minister’s social media pages still use the unofficial spelling of his name.(



The court ruling raised questions about the legality of other documents he might have previously signed using his unofficial spelling.

Mahiaddin Md Yasin, 74, became Malaysia’s eighth prime minister in March 2020 and the only unelected following political machinations that led to the downfall of a reformist coalition of which he was also a part.

He had been Minister of the Interior since 2018 under the former government and had previously held key positions, including as Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Commerce and Chief Minister of State.

His social media pages still use his unofficial spelling, and an aide to the prime minister said on Wednesday the public could still call him Muhyiddin.


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