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Malaysian political leaders meet with the king as race to identify next PM begins

Malaysian political leaders meet with the king as race to identify next PM begins

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

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian political party leaders met with the king on Tuesday (Aug 17), as the process to identify a new prime minister got underway following Mr Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation.

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. 

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

Speaking to reporters after the royal audience, Mr Anwar said political parties have reached a consensus to stop old politics, adding that the ruler has called for the party leaders to move towards “new politics” that bring peace and harmony for the people. 

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.

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. 

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. 

On Monday, Mr Muhyiddin was appointed caretaker prime minister after his resignation was accepted by the king. 

A palace statement wrote: “Following his resignation, His Majesty has agreed that the Most Honorable Tan Sri Mahiaddin bin Md Yasin will serve as caretaker prime minister until a new prime minister is appointed."

The palace statement added that for the people's safety, calling for a general election during the COVID-19 pandemic was not the best option. 

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Source: CNA/aw

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