Malaysian political leaders meet with King to select next Prime Minister following ex-PM Muhyiddin’s resignation

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Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad, Malaysia's king, attends a ceremony at Parliament Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Malaysia has crowned a new king in a traditional ceremony, after the previous monarch stepped down midway through his term in an unprecedented abdication. Photographer: Samsul Said/Bloomberg
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KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysian political leaders are meeting with the King, Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah on Tuesday (Aug 17), as the process to identify a new prime minister for the country following ex-Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation on Monday.

The King and the political leaders will now have to go through the list of potential candidates for the post, as he has the power to appoint as prime minister a lawmaker who he believes can command a majority, said the University of Tasmania’s director of Asia Institute James Chin.

As it is there is no clear successor in sight for the post of Malaysia’s prime minister, and no party commanding an outright majority in Parliament, leaving the circumstance up to the King to decide who will replace ex-Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

According to Bernama, Parti Islam Se-Malaysia deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man was seen entering the palace at 1.34pm, followed by Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Mukhriz Mahathir, United Malays National Organisation president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.

Malaysia's Istana Negara, the national palace. (Photo- Bernama)
Malaysia’s Istana Negara, the national palace. (Photo- Bernama)

Vehicles carrying Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu and Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim were also spotted at the palace gate.

Separately, Malaysian MPs have been asked to submit a declaration letter to the palace to state an individual they support to be the next prime minister, local media reported.

In a letter issued by Lower House speaker Azhar Azizan Harun, he said he was instructed by the king to notify the lawmakers to state “clearly and distinctly” the identity of the MP they trust as the prime minister.

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The MPs must submit the declaration letter to the national palace no later than 4pm on Wednesday.

The various political parties are said to have begun negotiations to form a majority in the Lower House, as a clear successor to Mr Muhyiddin has yet to emerge.

Malaysia's Ex- Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks in parliament on July 26 after the legislature reopened, following a seven-month hiatus. © Malaysia's Department of Information via AP
Malaysia’s Ex- Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks in parliament on July 26 after the legislature reopened, following a seven-month hiatus. © Malaysia’s Department of Information via AP

The next prime minister needs to convince the ruler that he likely commands majority support of the Lower House, which currently has 220 MPs and two vacant seats.

The Perikatan Nasional coalition, which was led by Mr Muhyiddin before his resignation after losing his razor-thin parliamentary majority, has about 100 MPs, according to the Star.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition, led by Mr Anwar, has around 88 MPs, the Star reported.

Proposing a “war Cabinet” focusing on nation recovery, Ahmad Zahid said the party was “considering several candidates” and called for all MPs to give their support.

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