Malaysia’s king to meet political leaders to find new PM

Aug 16, 2021, 9:29 AM | Updated: 10:36 pm
Media personnel wait outside the National Palace while Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin m...

Media personnel wait outside the National Palace while Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin meet with the King at palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrived at the palace for a meeting with the king Monday, where he is expected to hand in his resignation after conceding he didn't have majority support to rule. (AP Photo/FL Wong)

(AP Photo/FL Wong)

              Media personnel wait outside the National Palace while Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin meet with the King at palace in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, Aug. 16, 2021. Embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin arrived at the palace for a meeting with the king Monday, where he is expected to hand in his resignation after conceding he didn't have majority support to rule. (AP Photo/FL Wong)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s king is set Tuesday to meet the heads of political parties as he swiftly began the task of finding a new prime minister amid a worsening coronavirus pandemic.

The resignation Monday of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin after less than 18 months in office followed mounting public anger over what was widely perceived as his government’s poor handling of the pandemic. Malaysia has one of the world’s highest infection rates and deaths per capita, with daily cases breaching 20,000 this month despite a seven-month state of emergency and a lockdown since June.

The monarch has ruled out a general election as many parts of the country are COVID-19 red zones and health facilities are inadequate.

Muhyiddin was appointed caretaker prime minister until a successor is found.

Local media said Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has summoned party leaders to the palace later Tuesday, all believed to be at the same time. This included parties formerly in Muhyiddin’s government as well as the opposition.

The king plays a largely ceremonial role but he appoints the person he believes has majority support of Parliament to be prime minister.

Muhyiddin took power in March 2020 after initiating the collapse of the reformist government that won 2018 elections. With a razor-thin majority in Parliament and an unstable coalition, he held office less than 18 months, making him the country’s shortest-ruling leader.

Before choosing Muhyiddin, Sultan Abdullah interviewed all 222 lawmakers individually then sought nominations from party leaders in an arduous selection process. His choice of Muhyiddin as the prime minister was disputed by the predecessor he ousted, Mahathir Mohamad, and the opposition.

An official from Mahathir’s party confirmed it has been invited to the meeting Tuesday.

The selection this time will be another tough chore for the monarch because no coalition can claim a majority. The three-party alliance that is the biggest opposition bloc has nominated its leader, Anwar Ibrahim. But the bloc has less than 90 lawmakers, short of the 111 needed for a simple majority. That’s also less than the 100 lawmakers believed to have backed Muhyiddin.

Other contenders include former Deputy Prime Minister Ismail who is from the United Malays National Organization, the biggest party in Muhyiddin’s alliance.

Local media said another possible candidate is Razaleigh Hamzah, an 84-year-old prince who was a former finance minister. Razaleigh, an UMNO lawmaker, is seen as a neutral candidate who could unite the warring factions in UMNO.

A leader from eastern Sabah state on Borneo island, Shafie Apdal, has also been named in the race. It is unlikely as his party only has 8 lawmakers but some say a leader from Borneo may be seen as acceptable to all.

But Mahathir, 96, has called for a national recovery council to be formed and led mainly by professionals to resolve the country’s economic and health crises.

The Bersih electoral reform group urged contenders to pursue political stability by offering multi-partisan governance and institutional reforms, and not just horse-trading over numbers and positions.

“The endless political machination due to winner-takes-all politics in a de facto hung parliament for the past one and a half year must now end to enable a more effective governance of health and economy. The new Prime Minister must quickly convene a special meeting and table a motion of confidence in himself to prove his majority,” it said in a statement.

It warned that a short-sighted and self-serving government would be punished by voters in the next election.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

concede...
Associated Press

GOP’s Joe Kent contests results of Washington state race

Republican Joe Kent's campaign said Friday it intends to request a machine ballot recount of the counties within southwest Washington state's 3rd Congressional District.
11 hours ago
Gavel...
Associated Press

Case against man arrested in 1994 death of woman dismissed

Criminal charges against a man suspected in the 1994 murder of a Vancouver, Washington, woman have been dismissed.
11 hours ago
Sharon Bishop-Baldwin, left, and Mary Bishop-Baldwin, right, pose for a photo with the book that Sh...
Associated Press

Same-sex couples wary despite federal marriage rights bill

Mary and Sharon Bishop-Baldwin were jubilant after winning a decadelong fight for the right to wed in Oklahoma. But eight years after tying the knot — on the day they won their lawsuit challenging a state ban on gay marriage — and seven years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed same-sex couples’ constitutional right to […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this photo taken by an individual not employed by the Associated Press and obtained by th...
Associated Press

Confusion over Iran’s religious police as women drop hijab

CAIRO (AP) — Confusion over the status of Iran’s religious police grew as state media cast doubt on reports the force had been shut down. Despite the uncertainty, it has appeared for weeks that enforcement of the strict dress code has been scaled back as more women walk the streets without wearing the required headscarf. […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Glencore agrees to pay Congo $180 million over bribery case

BAAR, Switzerland (AP) — Commodities company Glencore said Monday that it has reached an agreement with the Democratic Republic of Congo to pay $180 million over bribery allegations spanning from 2007 to 2018. It comes months after the Anglo-Swiss company announced deals with authorities in the U.S., Britain and Brazil to pay a total of […]
1 day ago
In this combination of photos Arizona gubernatorial candidates, Republican Kari Lake, left, appears...
Associated Press

Arizona certifies 2022 election despite GOP complaints

PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s top officials certified the midterm election results Monday, formalizing victories for Democrats over Republicans who falsely claimed the 2020 election was rigged. The certification opens a five-day window for formal election challenges. Republican Kari Lake, who lost the race for governor, is expected to file a lawsuit after weeks of criticizing […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Malaysia’s king to meet political leaders to find new PM