Malaysia King’s efforts to resolve political crisis highlight role of constitutional monarchy
MALAY MAIL Fri, Feb 28, 2020
Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah speaks to members of the media at Istana Negara February 25, 2020. ― Picture by Miera Zulyana
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, is taking painstaking efforts to ensure that the ongoing political crisis in the country is resolved in the best way possible.
The Ruler is leaving no stone unturned in finding the solution, guided by the powers vested in the office of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as per the Federal Constitution.
Article 43 (2) (a) of the Federal Constitution states that “the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Perdana Menteri (Prime Minister) to preside over the Cabinet a member of the House of Representatives who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House.”
Following an attempt on Sunday to form a new coalition government with different partners, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government collapsed after one of its partners, Bersatu, withdrew from the group that comprises also PKR, DAP and Amanah.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also resigned as the prime minister on Monday. Within hours, the King appointed him as the interim prime minister and revoked the appointments of the deputy prime minister, ministers, deputy ministers and political secretaries.
Even as the political parties from both sides of the divide engaged in a series of negotiations to form a coalition government, the King, in his own way, set about to determine who commands the majority in the Dewan Rakyat, bringing to the fore the crucial role of the monarch in resolving challenging issues.
His Majesty conducted a laborious one-to-one interview of all MPs over two days from Tuesday to get their feedback on who they regarded as the best candidate for the next prime minister.
The wisdom of the King in taking such painstaking efforts to resolve the crisis clearly reflects the flourishing constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy in the country.
Universiti Malaya sociopolitical analyst Prof Awang Azman Awang Pawi said he sees Al-Sultan Abdullah as a wise ruler who is not hasty in making decisions.
“Although the people may be apprehensive over the political crisis and are eager to know what’s coming next, the King has opted to handle the crisis in a systematic manner to ensure that the solution is arrived at by consensus based on specific principles.
“The manner in which His Majesty is managing the crisis has enhanced the confidence of the people who realise that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is there for them whatever happens,” he told Bernama.
Awang Azman said the wisdom of Al-Sultan Abdullah in handling the crisis has opened the eyes of the people to the importance of the institution of the monarchy in maintaining peace, harmony and security in the country.
Universiti Putra Malaysia lecturer Assoc Prof Mohd Izani Mohd Zain said he feels that the collaborative spirit of Al-Sultan Abdullah in wanting to get the views of all MPs should serve as an example for all, especially politicians, in tackling issues collectively for the best solution.
It has to be noted that the King convened a special meeting of the Conference of Rulers today to discuss the crisis, demonstrating his conviction in collective decisions.
Mohd Izani does not foresee the King calling an election as the primary solution to the crisis as many things will come into play then, such as time and cost, pointing out that the last general election, in 2018, cost about RM500 million.
“Moreover, calling an election will not necessarily be the best solution,” he said.
The Istana Negara today issued a statement saying that the palace will give the opportunity to parties represented in the Dewan Rakyat to nominate candidates for prime minister.
This reflects the King’s patience in handling the crisis, ensuring that nothing is overlooked in arriving at the best solution. — Bernama