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Malaysian king summons more party leaders for meetings

Malaysian king summons more party leaders for meetings

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

KUALA LUMPUR: More leaders of key Malaysian political parties met King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah on Thursday (Jun 10), the second day of a series of meetings called by the ruler.

Thursday's meetings began with an audience granted by the king to the deputy chief of Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS), Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, who represented party president Hadi Awang, currently receiving treatment at the National Heart Institute.

Shortly after, Malaysian Chinese Association president Wee Ka Siong followed suit with his meeting with the king around noon.

Mr Tuan Ibrahim and Dr Wee are Cabinet members of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s Perikatan Nasional government.

Both left the palace without speaking to reporters waiting outside the gate.

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, chairman of the yet to be registered Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang), met the king in the afternoon.

Speaking in an online media conference, Dr Mahathir said that he has suggested the formation of a National Operations Council during his audience with the king, according to Malay Mail.

The council, better known by its Malay abbreviation Mageran, could potentially steer the country towards the right direction and help solve the health, economic, and social issues currently plaguing the country, said Dr Mahathir.

He said the king did not dismiss his suggestion outright, but pointed out that such a decision must be made by the government.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, wearing a face mask, waves as he leaves National Palace after meeting with the king in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

The last political leader given an audience with the king on Thursday was Warisan president Mohd Shafie Apdal.

The Sabah-based party president left the palace without speaking to reporters.

The king’s meetings with leaders of major political leaders will continue on Friday with United Malays National Organisation president  Ahmad Zahid Hamidi expected to be granted an audience in the afternoon.

READ: Malaysia, Taiwan say deliveries of Thai-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines delayed

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Democratic Action Party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu were present at the palace on Wednesday, after the king had a pre-Cabinet meeting with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in the morning. 

It was widely speculated that the political landscape would be among the meeting agenda, but the politicians told the media that the discussions revolved around COVID-19 and parliament sitting which is currently suspended due to the state of emergency. 

Mr Anwar said he pleaded for the king to not extend the state of emergency, while Mr Mohamad said he requested for parliament to reconvene.

Formation of a new government was “a matter that does not arise for now”, Mr Anwar told journalists outside the palace on Wednesday. 

In a statement, the palace said the king’s meeting with Mr Muhyiddin was a routine discussion on government affairs and issues. 

In January, the king had declared a state of emergency across the nation to curb the spread of COVID-19. It is set to end on Aug 1 or earlier depending on the state of the pandemic. 

The state of emergency has put parliamentary sitting and state assemblies as well as elections on hold, while economic activities were allowed to continue. 

READ: Commentary - Malaysia's government rests on an uneasy pact​​​​​​​

Opposition MPs and activists set up a Committee for Ending the Emergency Declaration in March and launched a petition to appeal for an end to the state of emergency. 

Mr Muhyiddin, who is under pressure from the opposition parties as well as coalition partners to prove the parliamentary support he commands, has reiterated that he would advise the king to dissolve parliament once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. 

Malaysia is currently under renewed movement restrictions as record high daily new infections and deaths were recorded. 

Source: CNA/agencies/tx

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