Malay Rulers to meet on Friday

KUALA LUMPUR: A special meeting of the Malay Rulers will be held this Friday at Istana Negara where the King is most likely to share the decision of the 220 Members of Parliament in choosing the prime minister.

The lawmakers have been told to submit their statutory declaration directly to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah by today.

Given the critical decision that His Majesty has to make, the meeting with his fellow Rulers is important, particularly if the numbers were too narrow. The meeting of the Rulers begins at 2.30pm.

Political leaders, whom His Majesty met in a joint audience, have been struggling to come up with a majority with deals being forged as horse-trading, including offers of top positions being offered by competing candidates.

MPs have also been promised posts in the government to secure enough majority to govern.

Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah, who is the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong, was present when the King met leaders of various political parties yesterday.

Also present were Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun.

Palace sources said His Majesty had taken the right steps of asking the MPs to submit their choice of prime minister directly.

“There have been cases, in the past, where MPs were known to have more than one SD in their declaration of support.

“The result is that the public no longer has trust in these documents. So, the palace wants to get this done properly,” said a source.

There has also been concern that the new government, whoever the new prime minister is, may have only a small majority which could again lead to an unstable government.

Azhar, in a letter, told MPs they had until 4pm today to name their choice of prime minister.

It is unlikely the outcome will be made known today until the Rulers have met.

The process of appointing a new prime minister began on Monday after the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was accepted by the King.

Muhyiddin has been appointed caretaker Prime Minister in the interim but has limited powers and can only perform basic essential functions of a government.

Muhyiddin’s resignation sparked a fury of horse-trading among politicians vying to form the next government.

The sources said the Rulers want the politicians to focus on fighting the pandemic and to put the economy back on track, and that they wanted stability, peace and harmony to prevail in the country.

In June, at the initiative of the King, the Rulers held a special meeting to discuss efforts to combat Covid-19.

The sources said the priority of the Rulers, ever since the meeting, has remained.