Wednesday, May 18, 2022

MPs subjected to rigorous verification as Agong out to ensure stability during pandemic

The palace appears out to ensure that MPs stick to their choice this time, as the Agong prepares to choose a new government outside a general election once again.

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The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has been conducting “rigorous verification” of MPs’ choice of prime minister, including to ensure that the letters submitted to the palace yesterday were signed without any duress, MalaysiaNow understands.

Those familiar with the goings-on in Istana Negara today, where the Agong is personally meeting 114 MPs, said the process appeared to ensure that MPs have full conviction in the candidate they chose to form the next government.

“Each MP has to clearly introduce himself, stating their name and other identity details.

“They are then asked if whatever they wrote in their certified letter yesterday was not under duress and out of their own free will,” one source told MalaysiaNow.

The 114 MPs comprise those from Perikatan Nasional (PN), Umno and GPS, as well as four independents, widely believed to have named former deputy prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob as their preference to lead the next government.

Ismail was among the Umno leaders and Cabinet members who had refused to join their party bosses Najib Razak and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in campaigning for Muhyiddin Yassin’s ouster by revoking support for him.

The thorough manner of verification could be a reflection of the palace’s concern that the new government could crumble as well if several MPs decide to revoke their support, which could throw the country into another political turmoil in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis.

Yesterday, Istana Negara in a statement said party leaders were reminded by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to help any future government in battling the pandemic, adding that the people were fed up with constant politicking.

Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah also told them that the prolonged political conflict was at the cost of the country’s economic recovery.

This is the second time that the responsibility of choosing a new government outside a general election has fallen on the shoulders of Sultan Abdullah, who assumed the throne in 2019.

A similar exercise in February 2020 saw MPs summoned to the palace to state who they supported, which eventually saw Muhyiddin appointed as the eighth prime minister.

The source said this time, however, the palace was out to ensure that MPs stick to their choice, and that the next government will not collapse until the next general election due in 2023.

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