PETALING JAYA: When the Prime Minister resigns, the cabinet is dissolved immediately and the King would now have to appoint either a permanent or a caretaker PM, says constitutional expert Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.
"The Prime Minister and the Cabinet is a collective responsibility. Once the PM resigns, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has to appoint a new PM - be he a permanent or a caretaker. There is no time-frame for the King to do so," said Shad Saleem of Universiti Malaya.
He explained that according to the Federal Constitution, the King can choose a clear-cut leader from the MPs or someone who has the biggest party or coalition and added that this means someone with the commanding majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
"If there is a deep divide and no clear-cut leader, the King has a very wide discretion and his role is pivotal.
"He has to give the first bite of the cherry (the first choice) to a leader which he believes may be able to forge a full majority. However, that need not be so. The King can also appoint any of the MPs who he believes is able to command the Dewan Rakyat," said Shad Saleem.
He further said that the appointed PM can then advise the King on the dissolution of the government if he is a caretaker.
"The King can only dissolve the government on the advice of the Prime Minister, whether permanent or caretaker. He cannot do it on his own as he is bound by the Constitution," said Shad Saleem.
The dissolution of a government means that a general election must be called.