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Dr M appointed caretaker PM
Published on: Tuesday, February 25, 2020
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KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has accepted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation earlier Monday as the seventh Prime Minister, but has now re-appointed him to hold the position in the interim, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali announced Monday evening.

Mohd Zuki said the Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah made the appointment after accepting Dr Mahathir’s resignation.

“However, His Majesty has assented to appoint YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as interim Prime Minister, while waiting for the appointment of the new Prime Minister, in line with Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

“Therefore, in this period, he will manage the country’s administration until the new Prime Minister is appointed and the Cabinet is formed,” he said in a brief statement.

The Federal Constitution’s Article 43(2)(a) provides for the Agong to appoint a Prime Minister from among the members of the Dewan Rakyat who — in his judgement — is “likely to command the confidence of the majority”.

Earlier Monday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Dr Mahathir had sent his resignation letter to the Agong at 1pm.

This was the second time Dr Mahathir has quit the post, making him both Malaysia’s longest-serving and shortest-serving Prime Minister.

Dr Mahathir, 94, had been Prime Minister of Malaysia twice in the nation’s history.

In his first stint, Dr Mahathir was the Prime Minister under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration for 22 years or five terms between July 16, 1981 to October 31, 2003, having first assumed the position when he was aged 56 and then stepping down aged 78.

After leading the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to victory in the 14th general elections on May 9, 2018, Dr Mahathir at age 92 was sworn in the next day and took up the position of Prime Minister again, almost 15 years after his “retirement” from politics when he gave up the post.

Dr Mahathir’s resignation Monday is just about three months shy of PH’s second anniversary in power.

Meanwhile, the latest developments in the country’s political landscape following several shocking announcements on Monday have changed the composition of the Dewan Rakyat, particularly the status of seats belonging to PH as the Government.

As at 5pm on Monday, PH is left with 92 parliamentary seats, after 11 of the 50 PKR representatives quit the party and Bersatu, which has 26 MPs, announced its withdrawal from the coalition.

With this, PH now comprises DAP with 42 seats; PKR, 39; and Amanah, 11; compared to a total of 129 seats it possessed before this.

The PKR MPs who announced they were quitting the party to become independents Monday are Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali (Gombak), Zuraida Kamaruddin (Ampang), Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (Indera Mahkota), Baru Bian (Selangau), Datuk Kamaruddin Ja’afar (Bandar Tun Razak), Datuk Mansor Othman (Nibong Tebal), Datuk Rashid Hasnon (Batu Pahat), Datuk Seri Dr Santhara Kumar (Segamat), Ali Biju (Saratok), Willie Mongin (Puncak Borneo) and Jonathan Yasin (Ranau).

Two Sabah-based parties — Parti Warisan Sabah, which has nine seats, and Upko with one seat are PH-friendly.

Of the other 83 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, 42 belong to Barisan Nasional comprising Umno (39), MCA (two) and MIC (one).

PAS has 18 seats and Gabungan Parti Sarawak also has 18 — comprising PBB (13), PRS and PDP two each, SUPP (one) — while Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) has one. The remaining four seats belong to PBRS (one), PBS (one) and Star (one) in Sabah and an independent.


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