Malaysia’s sovereign Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will interview all 222 members of parliament (MPs) individually to determine which political leader commands the majority of the Dewan Rakyat to become the next prime minister.
The procedure came after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as the nation’s prime minister yesterday.
Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin reiterated that the prime minister position will be determined based on which candidate proposed by the MPs has the command of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat, Malay Mail reported.
He noted that 90 MPs have already been called for the interview at the Royal Palace at 2.30pm today, and noting, “We do not segregate by party.”
Mr Fadil said all the MPs will get two or three minutes of audience with the sovereign and the entire interview process today is expected to end by 7pm.
Meanwhile, the other 132 MPs will be called for the interview tomorrow.
“The interview process will be done by the Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, his majesty himself, and will be accompanied by Chief Secretary Datuk Seri Zuki Mohd Ali,” Mr Fadil told the press during a media briefing at Istana Negara today.
According to Mr Fadil, the interviewing process, which is the first in Malaysia, is being implemented to ensure that the process is done in a transparent manner in accordance with the country’s constitution and laws and to avoid speculations.
“What the king practices is in line with the Federal Constitution, based on Article 43(2),” he said. “It is not known how long this process will take but we will keep in contact (with the media) from time to time.”
Malaysia is facing political turmoil after Dr M’s resignation
Yesterday, Tun Dr Mahathir submitted his resignation letter as the nation’s prime minister to the palace at 1pm and resigned from chairing the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).
The decision came after speculations that a new political coalition being formed to replace the current Pakatan Harapan administration.
Chief secretary Mohd Zuki Ali asserted in a statement that the king has accepted Dr Mahathir’s resignation and requested him to be the country’s interim prime minister until a new prime minister and cabinet are appointed.
However, PPBM supreme council has unanimously declined Dr Mahathir’s resignation as the PPBM’s chairman earlier today, Free Malaysia Today reported.
PPBM president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin further announced that the party has decided to pull out from the current Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration in support of Dr Mahathir as the prime minister of Malaysia, leaving the coalition – comprising Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara (AMANAH) – with 92 out of 222 seats in the Dewan Rakyat and short of the 112 simple majority needed to continue as the government.
PKR, on the other hand, has sacked its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and vice president Zuraida Kamaruddin yesterday following their involvement in organizing the meeting with UMNO and PAS MPs on 23 February.
Following that, Mr Azmin announced that he will form a new “independent block” in the parliament, and about 11 MPs who are aligned with Mr Azmin have exited from PKR and the PH coalition to join his new block.
PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he had appealed to Dr Mahathir to stay on as the country’s prime minister but he refused to.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the party will continue to nominate Dr Mahathir as the prime minister, noting that his party condemns the exodus of several PH leaders and MPs that plotted to form a backdoor government to replace the existing democratically-elected government.
As for Parti Amanah Negara, the party’s president Mohamad Sabu remarked in a statement that the party will stand firm with PH and Dr Mahathir as the prime minister.
Meanwhile, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) secretary-general Tan Sri Musa confirmed earlier today that his party has formed a coalition with several others, noting that they have enough numbers to form a government and will meet the Yang di-Pertuan Agong today, Malay Mail reported.