Explainer: Who is Malaysia’s king and why is he picking the prime minister?

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 (Reuters) – Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is in the spotlight as he mulls his choice of who will be the country’s next prime minister, after elections for a majority in parliament and a coalition. Has not left any party with. Negotiations failed.

Sultan Abdullah said on Tuesday he would decide “soon” between opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin after neither politician managed to garner enough support to form a coalition after Saturday’s election. could

It will be the third time the monarch has chosen a prime minister in just two years – although it is the first time it has happened after an election.

Who is the king of Malaysia?

King Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah ascended the throne in 2019 at the age of 59, becoming the 16th king of Malaysia since independence from Britain in 1957.

Malaysia has a unique constitutional monarchy in which monarchs are elected from the royal families of nine states, and each rule for a five-year term.

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The silver-haired, bespectacled Sultan Abdullah became king following the sudden abdication of the previous king.

King Sultan Abdullah, the ruler of the eastern Malaysian state of Pahang, gained popularity for his down-to-earth image early in his reign when he was seen standing in line at Kentucky Fried Chicken and helping accident victims. . A highway

Sultan Abdullah is a sports enthusiast, having represented his state in football matches at an early age. He has served as a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and as the President of the Asian Hockey Federation.

Is it always the king’s choice?

No, elections usually determine who will be the Prime Minister under the parliamentary system in Malaysia.

But the constitution gives him the power to appoint a prime minister who he believes can win a majority in the legislature.

Malaysian monarchs have rarely exercised this power, but political instability over the past two years has prompted the king to appoint a prime minister.

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The monarchy has played a more influential role since the 2020s amid the fall of the once-dominant National Coalition and its flagship United Malays National Organization (UMNO).

Barisan had led every government since independence from British colonial rule in 1957 until its election defeat in 2018. He was ousted after a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.

Has this happened before?

Yes. King Abdullah has previously appointed two prime ministers, although this is the first time this has happened after an election failed to produce a clear winner.

The king appointed Muhyiddin as Prime Minister in February 2020 after then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned due to coalition fighting.

After Mahathir’s resignation, Sultan Abdullah took the unusual step of meeting all 222 lawmakers in the country to determine who had the majority to form a new government, eventually choosing former Mahathir ally Muhyiddin Yassin. .

Less than a year later, after Muhyiddin’s coalition broke up, the king asked lawmakers to each submit a letter stating who they supported as prime minister and the next prime minister. – Decided to appoint Ismail Sabri Yaqub, who was in power until the recent elections.

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What happens next?

The King met Anwar and Mohiuddin on Tuesday.

Mohiuddin said the King had suggested that he and Anwar form a “coalition government” but he did not agree.

The king has summoned 30 lawmakers from the Barisan National Alliance for a meeting on Wednesday to decide who becomes prime minister.

Barisan posted its worst ever election performance on Saturday but plays a key role in government formation as both Anwar and Muhyiddin need its support to secure a majority.

Whoever is eventually named prime minister will face more of the kind of political turmoil that has plagued the country in recent years.

Reporting by Mei Mei Chu; Written by Kay Johnson; Edited by Bernadette Baum

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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