Malaysia’s palace refutes UK paper's 'royal coup' claim in naming PM
It responds to editorial in British newspaper about how the King overturned election results with new PM appointment
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's palace yesterday denied allegations of a "royal coup" in appointing the prime minister after Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned, saying the King, Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Ahmad Shah, used his discretionary powers prescribed in the constitution.
The palace was responding to an editorial in the British daily The Guardian this week that said the King had overturned a democratic election result by naming Mr Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister despite the opposite camp claiming a majority.
He was sworn in last week as the head of a government formed with the support of the corruption-tarnished Umno that was defeated in the last general election in 2018 by a multi-ethnic group.
The palace said it went beyond its "call of obligation" by meeting all lawmakers and the leaders of various political parties before the king arrived at his decision that Mr Muhyiddin was the person likely to command a majority in Parliament.
"It was only after this rigorous and open process of consultation, fully in accordance with the Federal Constitution, that His Majesty exercised his discretion under the Federal Constitution to appoint a new prime minister," the palace, Istana Negara, said in a statement.
"Hence, by no means can this process be regarded as a 'royal coup' as questionably asserted by The Guardian..."
Mr Muhyiddin is expected to unveil his Cabinet this week.
He has postponed the start of parliamentary proceedings by two months amid opposition efforts to challenge his government with a confidence vote.
Dr Mahathir's unexpected resignation as prime minister on Feb 24, after his coalition collapsed amid a power battle, had plunged the country into political turmoil.
Yesterday, a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council member said Mr Muhyiddin is seeking a meeting with Dr Mahathir.
Bersatu supreme council member Wan Saiful Wan Jan said Mr Muhyiddin revealed this on Friday during a meeting.
He said the Prime Minister had sent a letter to Dr Mahathir, expressing his desire to meet.
"Tan Sri Muhyiddin said he had tried to arrange for an appointment with Dr Mahathir, and had sent a letter to him, requesting to meet.
"Now, we are only waiting for a date from Dr Mahathir. We hope that he is willing to meet as soon as possible," Mr Wan Saiful saidyesterday.
On Saturday,Dr Mahathir said Bersatu will be holding party elections soon to decide who leads the party, adding that the party is split between him and Mr Muhyiddin.
"Bersatu has split into two, with some members following the president (Muhyiddin) and some following the chairman," said Dr Mahathir.
Asked which is the "real" Bersatu, he replied: "We are still one Bersatu but there is a faction that follows Najib (Razak)."
When asked about Mr Muhyiddin's statement that he had assumed the role of Bersatu acting chairman, Dr Mahathir said there was no such thing.
"He is not acting. I am still the chairman.
"What's this about him being acting chairman?
" I did resign earlier but I later re-accepted the post," he said. - REUTERS, THE STAR