Whatsapp may be used to choose Malaysia’s new PM

New Delhi: Parliament must submit its choice of a new prime minister to the palace by 4 p.m. local time Wednesday, as the nation’s king begins the search for a successor to Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned Monday.

Speaker Azhar Azizan Harun sent a notice to members of parliament advising them to keep secret the contents of their declaration letters until the king reveals which MP commands majority support. Those who wish to choose a premier can email, fax or WhatsApp the name, he said.

Despite getting questioned on Twitter, opposition MP Ong Kian Ming kept saying he would back Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. By number of parliament seats, Ong is on the list of the country’s largest political party, Democratic Action Party.

Muhyiddin was appointed last year after Mahathir Mohamad abruptly resigned, leaving Malaysia without a prime minister for a week. Parliamentarians interviewed the monarch for several days at his palace rather than holding a sitting, resulting in shifting alliances and a flurry of statutory declarations that led to Muhyiddin’s commission but led to his downfall as premier.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs, believes the method is legal because the constitution allows the king to exercise his opinion on who likely commands a majority.

But if the government is serious about improving transparency, it has to amend the constitution so that it is clearer how its majority is determined.

These are Malaysia’s next candidates for prime minister

Despite these differences, several political parties were willing to work together to form a more inclusive government this time around. This was after the king met with party leaders on Tuesday, where he reminded them of the importance of staying united to fight the Covid outbreak and revive the economy, according to Anwar.

After their meeting with the monarch, Anwar said, “There appeared to be an understanding, a consensus to end our old, tired, boring politics.”.

Among those present at the meeting were leaders from the opposition Pakatan Harapan coalition, the United Malays National Organization, the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, Mahathir’s Pejuang party and Muhyiddin’s Bersatu party.

In a country plagued by weak economic conditions and increasing Covid cases, Muhyiddin and his cabinet resigned after more than 17 months in power. In the absence of a successor, he will remain as caretaker prime minister.

“I hope all political parties can accept the king’s call to compromise, so as to form a unity government that can manage people’s welfare and deal with the pandemic,” UMNO Youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki wrote on Facebook.

(With agency inputs)