Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Malaysia king calls meeting of royals to break political deadlock

Malaysia king calls meeting of royals to break political deadlock

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's king has called for royal rulers to meet on Thursday to resolve a political impasse that left the country without a prime minister days after inconclusive polls, the palace said.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin remain the frontrunners for the top job.

Malaysia's king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has the discretionary power to appoint a premier whom he believes has the majority of lawmakers' support.

The palace said Wednesday the meeting of the country's Malay rulers is aimed at helping the king "make the decision for the benefit and well-being of the country and the people".

Largely Muslim Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne rotates every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.

The system has been in place since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.

While their role is largely ceremonial, Malaysia's Islamic royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticising them is strictly forbidden.

At the weekend election, Anwar's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition won the most number of seats at 82 while Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) grouping grabbed 73, but both missed the simple majority of 112.

The once mighty Barisan Nasional -- dominated by jailed ex-leader Najib Razak's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party -- trailed far behind with 30 seats.