Malaysian king rejected the interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s plan to convene parliament for electing the new leader of the House. Royal official Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, in a statement, said that the king will continue to strive to find a solution in accordance with the constitution, in the interests of the people and country.
The decision came after widespread criticism of Mahathir’s plan to convene a session on March 2 to elect the new Prime Minister. Though the 94-year-old leader did not deny the possibility of snap elections, he wanted the parliament to decide on the new leader. Speaking at a news conference on February 27, Mahathir said that the nation will go for snap elections if the Lower House fails to elect a person with a majority.
Following his resignation from Prime Ministerial post on February 24, Mahathir returned as interim Prime Minister of Malaysia the next day. Though Mahathir had submitted his resignation to the King on Monday, he is supposed to remain at the helm by entering a wider coalition and replacing the current ruling pact.
According to media reports, if parliament is convened to elect the leader, Mahathir could retain the power with the support of a majority of lawmakers that includes opposition parties Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS). The political realignment could see a new government without the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) which was part of the current coalition government.
PKR has expelled Minister of Economic Affairs Mohamed Azmin Ali and Minister of Housing & Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin for acting against the party. PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, in a Facebook Live on February 23, had expressed shock on the political developments calling it a betrayal of the promises made during government formation.
The political realignment could see a new government without the PKR which was part of the current coalition government. Resignation of Mohamad was widely expected after a series of meetings were held on February 23 to plan the formation of a new federal government. Mahathir disbanded the cabinet and the future of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, formed by Mahathir and Ibrahim is almost over.
(With inputs from agencies)