Malaysia's King has 3 options after Anwar's power play

The Malaysian King (left) plans to hold an audience with Anwar. PHOTOS: BERNAMA, AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (BLOOMBERG) - The Malaysian King is set to play a key role in what happens next now that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has claimed he has majority support to form a government.

The monarch, known as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, plans to hold an audience with Datuk Seri Anwar soon to give him the opportunity to prove his assertion, after postponing a Tuesday (Sept 22) meeting for health reasons. There is no exact time set yet.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has maintained that he is still the legitimate leader and denounced Mr Anwar's attempt to destabilise the country's politics.

Here are a few ways the King could decide to resolve the impasse:


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 Tan Sri Muhyiddin was sworn into office in March after the collapse of a government that took power after a 2018 election.

Mr Muhyiddin could also call an election, which he earlier said he might do if his coalition wins the Sabah statewide polls this Saturday.


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 Mr 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.


After former leader Mahathir Mohamad abruptly resigned in February, the King spent days speaking to each lawmaker to find out who they support, which led to Mr Muhyiddin's appointment.

This time, there is no leadership vacuum, so the monarch may need to urge the current premier to step down if Mr Anwar has the backing of a majority of lawmakers in Parliament.

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