Interim PM may assemble new line-up

Political observers expect members of the interim Cabinet to include political heavyweights who have pledged support to Dr Mahathir

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s appointment as the interim prime minister (PM) by Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday meant that the veteran leader will now be tasked to assemble an interim Cabinet.

Political observers expect members of the interim Cabinet to include political heavyweights who have pledged support to Dr Mahathir. Following his sudden resignation as PM and chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia yesterday, MPs from both the Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Opposition camps have reiterated their backing for the statesman as their leader for a new governing coalition.

“Dr Mahathir’s appointment as interim PM means that he now has time to rearrange and form a new interim Cabinet based on the list given to him by the six party representatives. Whether he wants to include PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or DAP secretary general Lim Guan is up to him,” political analyst Prof Dr Hoo Ke Ping told The Malaysian Reserve.

“It will definitely be different from the PH government because it no longer exists,” Hoo added.

He expects Dr Mahathir to make the appointments as soon as possible before the start of the next Parliament session scheduled for March 9. The realignment will likely see representatives from most parties involved in the interim administration.

“It is very likely that Dr Mahathir will be reappointed as PM for the realigned ruling coalition since he appears to have the support of over 150 MPs now.

It is important that there is political stability in the country and the numbers exemplify that,” he said.

Dr Mahathir submitted a letter of resignation to the Agong after Bersatu announced its exit from PH. The party’s withdrawal and the removal of Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali and his supporters from PKR left the coalition with 102 seats in Parliament.

A simple majority of 112 seats is needed to form a government.

Amid claims there were statutory declarations (SDs) signed by MPs, International Islamic University Malaysia’s Prof Dr Shamrahayu Abd Aziz said the Agong could call all involved in the SDsto confirm support received claimed by both Dr Mahathir and PKR president Anwar.

“It would be wise for the Agong to verify the claims individually. If the Agong finds that the SDs support Dr Mahathir, I believe it is not wrong for him to reappoint Dr Mahathir to the position,” she said.

Article 43 of the Federal Constitution states that the Agong shall appoint a PM from among MPs who, in his judgement, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the house.

“We have to bear in mind that our government is not a two-party system. It is based on small parties showing solidarity to form a majority in Parliament. If these parties have majority, they will then place their confidence on someone who they trust can lead them,” Shamrahayu said.

“So, the appointment of a PM is not a question of party, it is about confidence. That is why the Constitution refrains from using the term ‘seats’, but places emphasis on confidence,” she added.