Malay rulers meet at Istana Negara to resolve Malaysia's political turmoil

The Malay rulers are meeting at Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 28, 2020. Matters under consideration include the possibilities of a new government or the dissolution of the Parliament's House of Representatives. PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Malay rulers held a meeting at the Istana Negara in Kuala Lumpur on Friday (Feb 28) with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, aimed at bringing about a resolution to the country's ongoing political turmoil.

The motorcades of the country's nine monarchs entered the main entrance gate of the Istana Negara from 9.30am, The Star reported, with the Johor entourage the first to arrive.

It was followed by convoys from Selangor, Kelantan, Perlis, Pahang, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Terengganu and Perak.

Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) chief Affendi Buang and Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador were also seen arriving at the palace.

A heavy police presence could be seen in the palace vicinity.

Malaysiakini reported that cars of the rulers of Johor, Kedah, Perlis, and Terengganu were later spotted leaving Istana Negara at about 1.10pm, although it was unclear if the meeting had concluded or if they were leaving for Friday prayers.

The media has been keeping watch outside Istana Negara since news first broke about the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Monday announced his shock resignation, after members of his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and some rebels from its former PH partner, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), allied themselves with the opposition Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

His resignation prompted his party to pull out of the PH alliance, triggering the government's collapse.

Tun Dr Mahathir, however, was named interim premier by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong almost immediately following his resignation.

Following the PH government's collapse, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong met almost all MPs over two days this week to determine who commands the confidence of the majority in Parliament.

Matters under consideration of the Malay rulers and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at Friday's meeting included the possibilities of a new government or the dissolution of the Dewan Rakyat, Parliament's House of Representatives.

Dr Mahathir said on Thursday that a special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat would be held on Monday to determine the candidate who commands majority support to be the next prime minister.

He said this was after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong could not find anybody with distinct majority support, and hence the right forum would be the Dewan Rakyat.

Dr Mahathir also said that if the special sitting could not reach an agreement, snap polls would be held.

His announcement however, has been met with criticism from politicians on both sides of the political divide who said the move goes against the powers of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. They also felt that Parliament is not the appropriate forum to appoint a prime minister.

Parliament Speaker Mohamad Ariff Mohamad Yusof on Friday also said that there would be no special Parliament sitting on Monday unless Sultan Abdullah said otherwise.

Political parties, meanwhile, have convened their respective special meetings to discuss their next course of action, Bernama reported.

Bernama reported that lawmakers from Dr Mahathir's Bersatu party met on Friday morning to discuss whether to rejoin the PH and name its president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as a candidate for prime minister.

The developments at the federal level in the past week are also expected to affect the state governments, giving rise to the probability of government changes in certain states.

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