Malaysia king yet to decide on next prime minister, BN politicians summoned to palace on Wednesday
23 November, 2022
There has been no decision made by the king of Malaysia on who would be the next prime minister, after the ruler met the leaders of Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Perikatan Nasional (PN) on Tuesday (Nov 22).
Additionally, all 30 Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians who won the election have been summoned to the palace on Wednesday morning to meet with the ruler individually.
This came after the result of the 15th General Election (GE15) resulted in a hung parliament scenario, with neither PH nor PN being able to amass enough numbers to form the next government.
Both PH chairman Anwar Ibrahim and PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin were summoned to the palace on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters after the royal audience, Mr Anwar said: “We have been summoned by the king. His Highness has expressed his desire to form a governmentinclusive of race, religion and region. "This allows the government to focus on resolving the problems of the Rakyat (people) and to resuscitate our economy. And I, of course, expressed gratitude to His Highness, and said we will do our best, digest the advice and wait for the final decision, which is of course the discretion of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong."
When asked if he has been given time to build a majority in the Lower House, Mr Anwar replied: “We have submitted (the list of MPs). We can, of course, be open to improving the process ... given time, I think we would secure the simple majority as I had indicated earlier."
In a separate press conference, Mr Muhyiddin said that the king had asked for both PN and PH to work together to form a unity government.
Mr Muhyiddin, however, said that PN had turned down the suggestion.
“We have discussed this beforehand. We will not work with PH,” said Mr Muhyiddin.
PH won 81 seats while PN managed 73, putting both in a position to form the next government in the 222-seat Lower House. A coalition needs to be backed by at least 112 lawmakers to form the next government.
BN, which finished a distant third, managed to win 30 seats. Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) won 23 seats while Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS) emerged victorious in six seats.
For Malaysians, Tuesday began with cautious optimism that there might be a resolution to the political impasse.
The palace had set a 2pm deadline for the coalitions to present their numbers to form the next government and propose their prime minister candidates.
On Monday, PN announced that it had submitted 112 statutory declarations signed by MPs who back Mr Muhyiddin. It added on Tuesday morning that it has submitted an additional statutory declaration to the palace.
Talks were held between PH and BN on Monday. Mr Anwar said that he was “very pleased” with the discussions.
However, there were signs of dissent within BN’s ranks, as several politicians questioned the need to form a pact with PH.
BN deputy president Mohamad Hasan, for instance, wrote on Facebook on Monday that BN accepts the decision of the people.
“So we don't have the power to establish a government. I suggest, let PN and PH merge (to form the) government because they have the largest number of votes,” he said on Monday.
On Tuesday morning, these divisions within BN were laid bare as its MPs gathered at the party headquarters after they were summoned by the coalition chiefs.