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Elect new King fast, says Dr M
Published on: Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Terengganu: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) said Monday the government hopes that the new Yang di-Pertuan Agong would be elected as soon as possible.

Dr Mahathir said the election had to be expedited because he had to have an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on certain matters.

"The government accepts the decision of (the Sultan of Kelantan) Sultan Muhammad V to step down. It is in accordance with the constitution," he told reporters after opening the Terengganu office of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) here.

Also present were Dr Mahathir's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, and Bersatu Terengganu chairman Datuk Razali Idris.

Istana Negara, in a statement earlier by Datuk Pengelola Bijaya Diraja (Comptroller of the Royal Household) Datuk Wan Ahmad Dahlan Ab Aziz, announced the resignation of Sultan Muhammad V who had reigned as the 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong from Dec 13, 2016.

The Council of Rulers will meet on January 24 to elect the new Agong and his deputy.

Keeper of the Royal Seal Tan Sri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said the Council has also decreed that the swearing-in ceremony for the new Agong and the Deputy will be held on January 31.

"The Rulers attending this meeting has decided to hold a special Council of Rulers meeting on Thursday, (January 24), 2019 for the purpose of electing the Yang di-Pertuan Agong XVI and the Deputy Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Dr Mahathir said the Conference of Rulers had rules and procedures pertaining to the succession of the King, which were enshrined in the Constitution.

Asked about Sultan Muhammad V's successor, Dr Mahathir said that he would in no way interfere in the matter and that the final decision lay with the Conference of Rulers.

"We (Government) will not interfere in this matter. The next Yang di-Pertuan Agong will be determined by the Conference of Rulers. I do not know how it is done and according to their (Malay rulers) tradition, they have their own arrangements," he said.

The King is chosen from the nine Malay Rulers based on a rotational system, which means that the Pahang Sultan is next in line and is likely to be up for the election, followed by Johor and Perak.

Only one candidate will be nominated for election by the Conference of Rulers. The Governors of Penang, Melaka, Sabah, and Sarawak cannot participate in the election even though they are members of the Conference.

The nine Malay Rulers will state in their ballot whether the candidate is suitable or not to be the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, upon which he is elected as King after he gets a majority of five votes. The second-most senior ruler will be up for the election instead if the successful nominee declines the position or fails to get at least five votes.

Meanwhile, commenting on the performance of the current Cabinet ministers, Dr Mahathir said overall he was satisfied with how they were doing.

"We must remember that they are members of a new Cabinet and had never been ministers before. They had been very vocal when they were in the opposition and now have to adapt to the new situation," he said.

He said they should be given a chance to prove themselves and that there was no necessity to replace them with new ministers.

Meantime, Dr Mahathir, who is also Bersatu chairman, urged all quarters to understand why he often prioritised problems by the Malays.

He said it was because he wanted them to rise up and be progressive like the other races.

"Bersatu will always give priority to the problems faced by the Malays who are still a race that is poor.

"Changes must be made so that the Malays can enjoy the wealth of the country. So that in the end we do not fall very far behind," he added.

In his speech when opening the new Bersatu office, Dr Mahathir said Bersatu can replace Umno in championing the wellbeing of the Malays and hoped the support would be reciprocated.

Dr Mahathir also wanted Bersatu not to make the same mistakes as Umno and the Barisan Nasional which paid heavily for their failures.

"If this happens (making the same mistakes), the existing government won't last long," he said. – Bernama

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