Deadline for PM candidates today

Political leaders have reached a consensus for ‘new politics’ as the King reminds that whoever elected as the next PM should not do anything to topple any individual

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by HUSSEIN SHAHARUDDIN

TODAY is the deadline for politicians across all sides of the political divide to submit names for Malaysia’s ninth prime minister (PM) candidate.

All MPs have until 4pm today to submit the candidate of their choice after Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun requested them to nominate a name and declare their endorsement in a letter yesterday.

He said under Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has to appoint an MP as the PM, whom the King believes has the majority support of the lower house.

“In carrying out the order of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, I’m giving notice to the honourable MPs to submit a declaration letter stating clearly a member of the lower house who is entrusted by the honourable to be the ninth PM of Malaysia,” Azhar said.

After months of infighting within his coalition and failure to achieve bipartisan support, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin eventually stepped down as the PM on Monday.

He has since been appointed the caretaker PM as the nation searches for his replacement.

Several names have been speculated to take over Muhyiddin’s post including Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (picture; right), former deputy PM Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Umno’s Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, however, has said that he has no interest in becoming PM, instead asking for Umno MPs to rally behind the party’s decision on its candidate.

Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had an audience with six political leaders in a two-hour meeting yesterday.

It is understood that the King had met with Pas deputy president Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, Ahmad Zahid and Parti Pejuang Tanah Air president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.

From the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, DAP secretary general Bagan MP Lim Guan Eng, Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu (second from left) and PKR’s Anwar were also at the meeting.

When met by the media outside of the Palace, Anwar said all political leaders are seeking a new political landscape while focusing on national recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Yang di-Pertuan Agong has reminded the leaders that while we are seeking another PM, the way we carry out politics must change. The leaders have reached a consensus for ‘new politics’.

“He also reminded us that whoever will be elected as the PM, (the person cannot) do anything to topple any individual,” Anwar told reporters.

Meanwhile, Parti Warisan Sabah has expressed its willingness to support Anwar in the candidacy should he obtain the “magic number” to form a government.

Warisan Youth chief and Sepanggar MP Datuk Azis Jamman said should Anwar doesn’t get enough support, PH should give the right of first refusal to his party president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

“Warisan will support Anwar for PM if he can pass the magic number and hopes for PH’s right of first refusal to Mohd Shafie if Anwar cannot pass the magic number,” he tweeted.

Anwar currently has the support of 105 out of 220 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat and requires seven more to reach the majority of 111.

Two seats at the lower house are currently vacant following the deaths of their elected representatives.

“Minimum 111 out of 220 MPs. As it stands today, the Opposition is at 105 MPs, so we are

short of seven extra MPs,” Azis said. He said the 105 supports came from other Opposition parties — Warisan, Pejuang, Malaysian United Democratic Alliance and Parti Bersatu Sarawak.

Azis added that Anwar has to seek the additional seven support from other parties.

Umno Youth exco Bastien Onn said the country’s oldest political party is willing to cooperate with its “political enemies” in resolving the people’s problems and for the country’s benefit.

However, he added that the cooperation does not include a political alignment with Anwar or another party such as DAP.

“I think it is unlikely for Umno to cooperate with either party in forming a government as stated by the decision of the Supreme Council. However, it is possible for the benefit of the people.”

Still, Muhyiddin has also hinted of a possible comeback, although it was not known whether Perikatan Nasional would name him or Ismail Sabri as widely speculated.