KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — Now is a crucial period for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to discharge his duty as an interim prime minister in steering the country’s administration without the assistance of the Cabinet.
Political analyst from Universiti Putra Malaysia, Dr Anuar Shah Bali Mahomed said the interim period could extend to three, or four days, as long as there was no ruling party with the majority of seats in the Dewan Rakyat.
“At this point, all political parties are facing the daunting task of gaining the support of the other party and forming a new alliance. This takes time. But while it is pending, Dr Mahathir as an interim prime minister will still have to carry out his duties.
“So it is important for the political party to immediately seek support or to join a coalition with other parties and subsequently propose to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to form a government. This is where the new prime minister will be elected,” he told Bernama.
It was reported yesterday (Feb 24) that Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah has consented to appoint Dr Mahathir as an interim prime minister, after accepting his resignation as the prime minister earlier in the day.
The Prime Minister’s Office in a statement announced that Dr Mahathir has resigned as the seventh prime minister yesterday (Feb 24) and his resignation letter was submitted to the king at 1 pm.
Also on the same day, Dr Mahathir announced his resignation as chairman of the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), and Bersatu declared that it has quit the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
The 94-year-old statesman sworn in as the seventh prime minister on May 10, 2018, after leading PH to remove what he called a kleptocratic government.
According to the constitution, at least 112 parliamentary seats are required to win a simple majority to form a government.
He stressed that this should not take too long as it could lead the country to a precarious situation.
Meanwhile, lawyer Datuk Salehuddin Saidin said there was no special provision in the Constitution which set the time frame for a person to serve as an interim prime minister.
Therefore, it is up to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s discretion to decide.
“Only the interim prime minister can govern the country. But this should not be allowed to go on for an extended period of time as it could hurt the country’s economy. So, it is the responsibility of all political parties to resolve or change the situation,” he added.