Kuala Lumpur: After interviews with all MPs this week, the Malaysian King was yet to identify one parliamentarian with the majority support needed to be the next Prime Minister and will now meet leaders of all parties, the National Palace said on Friday.
All 222 MPs were interviewed on Tuesday and Wednesday following the shock resignation a day earlier of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, whom King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had asked to act as interim leader until a new government was formed, Efe news reported.
“Istana Negara (National Palace) will contact the leaders of political parties with representatives in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament), to give them an opportunity to present nominations of Dewan Rakyat members as future Prime Minister,” the comptroller of the Royal Family and Household, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said in a statement.
On Thursday, Mahathir announced that Parliament would meet in a special sitting on March 2 to pick the country’s new leader.
However, Parliament Speaker Mohamad Ariff on Friday said that the request by Mahathir to convene the sitting will not go ahead because it did not meet prerequisites and that the meeting could only be held upon receiving an official decree from the king.
The King also agreed to the speaker’s decision to reject the meeting.
Ariff was summoned to meet King twice on Friday, but the purpose of which has not been announced.
Meanwhile, the ruling Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu), chaired by Mahathir, said on Friday that it has nominated its President Muhyiddin Yassin as its prime ministerial candidate with the support of 36 MPs.
The three parties left in the Pakatan Harapan ruling coalition, which collapsed when Mahathir resigned and Bersatu pulled out, has put forward Anwar Ibrahim as leader.
The opposition is calling for a snap election.
Friday’s developments are the latest in the country’s political crisis since Mahathir resigned Monday as Prime Minister amid weekend speculation surrounding the potential behind-the-scenes formation of a new ruling coalition without Anwar, Mahathir’s promised successor.
Mahathir and his alliance won the 2018 election in a shock victory, ousting then-Prime Minister Najib Razak and his United Malays National Organization-dominated ruling Barisan Nasional coalition after 60 years, before propelling Najib into investigations related to the 1MDB corruption scandal.