(Sept 24): Malaysia’s king is set to play a key role in what happens next after opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claimed he had majority support to form a government.
The monarch, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, plans to hold an audience with Anwar soon to give him the opportunity to prove his assertion, after postponing a Tuesday meeting for health reasons. There’s no exact time set yet.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has maintained that he is still the legitimate leader and denounced Anwar’s attempt to destabilize the country’s politics.
Here are a few ways the king could decide to resolve the impasse:
Call an election
The king has the power to dissolve parliament, after which an election must be held within 60 days. Lawmakers from the ruling and opposition coalitions have called for snap polls to resolve the political uncertainty once and for all, as Muhyiddin was sworn into office in March after the collapse of a government that took power after a 2018 election. Muhyiddin could also call an election, which he earlier said he might do if his coalition wins the Sabah statewide polls this Saturday.
Seek confidence vote
The monarch could request the speaker of the lower house to bring forward the next parliament sitting, currently set for Nov 2, to hold a confidence vote sooner. The opposition has been planning to challenge Muhyiddin’s support in parliament for months, but the speaker has repeatedly placed the motion at the bottom of the agenda. In July, the prime minister proved he held a slim majority in parliament when he replaced the speaker.
Appoint prime minister
After former leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad abruptly resigned in February, the king spent days speaking with each lawmaker to find out who they support, which led to Muhyiddin’s appointment. This time, there’s no leadership vacuum, so the monarch may need to urge the current premier to step down if Anwar has the backing of a majority of lawmakers in parliament.