Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Mahathir: No candidate has majority as PM

Mahathir: No candidate has majority as PM

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Malaysia’s interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad told reporters on Thursday evening that a special Parliamentary session will be held on March 2 to deal with the issue. AFP

Mahathir: No candidate has majority as PM

Malaysia's interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has revealed that no candidate has been able to gain the majority support of the country’s 222 Members of Parliament (MPs), and as such, the matter will be referred to Parliament.

After his audience with the King, Mahathir told reporters on Thursday evening that a special Parliamentary session will be held on March 2 to deal with the issue.

“The King has asked all MPs to make a statement . . . in front of him. The result is that he can’t find anyone with a distinct majority. Since there isn’t a distinct majority he says the right forum would be the Dewan Rakyat,” he said, referring to Parliament’s House of Representatives.

However, should a vote of confidence in Parliament not yield a definitive result, then elections will be called.

Mahathir said: “Dewan Rakyat will be called on 2nd of next month. If the Dewan Rakyat fails to find a person with a majority we would have to go for a snap election.

“If somebody gets a majority [in Parliament] and he becomes candidate for prime minister then he is in position to choose members of his cabinet. He can choose any member that would not be tied to any particular party.

“It would be a unity government because all parties have representatives in the cabinet but other people can be co-opted to be ministers in cabinet,” he said, reiterating a call he made in his speech a day earlier for a nonpartisan government.

Many unanswered questions remain if such a government can be formed, with political parties from both sides declaring an unwillingness to work with each other.

During his televised address on Wednesday, Mahathir said he does not want a coalition dominated by his former party, the United Malay National Organisation (Umno).

However, his party lieutenant in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) Tan Sri Muhyiddin feels differently.

Mahathir said: “My position is that I will not accept Umno as a component party. I would accept members who joined, not identified by Umno, I’ll accept them. But Muhyiddin is a little bit more relaxed on that, he’s quite prepared to accept them as a comrade.”

On his meeting earlier with Muhyiddin, he said: “There are various possibilities we’ve discussed including the possibility that Muhyiddin might become a candidate [for prime minister]. If everybody chooses him, I’m okay.

“I will not be prime minister if I’m not named as candidate,” he said.

The Malaysian King, Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin, appointed Mahathir as interim prime minister following his resignation on Monday. Mahathir’s Bersatu also exited the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan on the same day, leading to the collapse of the coalition.

Pakatan Harapan now consists of PKR, Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah). With only 92 lawmakers, it is short of the 112 needed to form government.

The coalition announced on Wednesday that it would throw its support behind PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as its prime minister of choice. This marked a U-turn from Monday’s announcement that the alliance was supporting Mahathir.

It is unclear whether any resolution will be reached at the special Parliamentary session, given no clear leader has the numerical support needed to form a government.

Mahathir has not entirely struck out any working relationship with Pakatan Harapan despite the break-up.

Asked if he would consider rejoining hands with Pakatan Harapan, the leader said: “If it is a unity government, members can come from the parties but they’ll come as individuals and not looked upon as representing their parties.”

“At this moment I don’t have the power to form my cabinet,” he said, in response to a question if he would have an interim cabinet.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Gov’t not using EU aid for poor

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Tuesday refuted as “baseless”, claims that the government had used financial aid from the EU to implement the programme to identify and support poor and vulnerable people during the Covid-19 pandemic. The prime minister was responding to Roth Sothy, a

  • Thai fence said to prevent illegal crossing

    Battambang and Banteay Meanchey provincial police say Thailand is not invading Cambodia after a series of social media posts about fences being built on the border raised alarms. Banteay Meanchey police chief Ath Khem said on Tuesday the information on social media on Sunday and

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • ‘Single Portal’ integrated registration system welcomes nearly 50 firms

    Forty-seven companies have successfully registered via a newly-launched information technology e-business registration platform as of the end of the second week of this month, Ministry of Economy and Finance secretary of state Phan Phalla said. Six ministries and state-run institutions have been integrated into a