PETALING JAYA: The shocking resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister triggers the disbanding of the Cabinet as well, says a constitutional expert.
Emeritus Prof Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi of Universiti Malaya said under the Federal Constitution, when the Yang di-Pertuan Agong accepts the Prime Minister’s resignation, the Cabinet is dissolved immediately.
The immediate next step after the resignation is for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint a new prime minister.
“The King has to appoint a PM – either a permanent one or a caretaker, ” said Shad Saleem, stating that there was no fixed time frame within which the King was obliged to do so.
Shad Saleem was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s resignation yesterday.
The Prime Minister’s Office announced that Dr Mahathir, who is Langkawi MP, sent his resignation letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in the afternoon.
Separately, he announced that he was resigning as chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
The King then accepted Dr Mahathir’s resignation and appointed him as the interim prime minister.
Shad Saleem said that according to the Constitution, when appointing the next prime minister, the King could choose a clear-cut leader from among the MPs.
This can mean an MP from any party with the commanding majority in the Dewan Rakyat.
“If the Dewan Rakyat is deeply divided and there is 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 opportunity) to a leader whom 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 whom he believes is able to command the Dewan Rakyat, ” said Shad Saleem.
He further said that the appointed PM could then advise the King on the dissolution of Parliament.
“The King can only dissolve Parliament 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 Parliament means that a general election must be called.
According to sources, MPs from six parties including Bersatu, PKR, Parti Warisan Sabah (Warisan), Umno, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak will be meeting the King to state their support for Dr Mahathir.
This is meant to result in the appointment of Dr Mahathir as prime minister again.
A series of high-powered meetings between leaders of component parties of the beleagured Pakatan Harapan coalition, which started on Feb 23, climaxed when Dr Mahathir announced that he was resigning from his government and party posts.
The political drama points to the possibility of a new alliance between the six parties, with the ones from PKR aligned to the faction of former PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
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