King to meet all MPs before making decision

KUALA LUMPUR: In an unprecedented move, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is meeting all MPs to determine who commands the confidence of the majority.

Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will come face-to-face with 221 MPs in one-to-one interviews to ascertain who commands the majority of support in the Dewan Rakyat.

The first batch of 90 MPs was granted an audience with the King yesterday while the rest will meet with His Majesty today.

From 2.30pm yesterday, groups of MPs were seen entering Istana Negara to meet the King.

A large convoy of vehicles, including two charter buses and several cars, ferried Umno MPs into the palace.

Seen in the bus were Umno secretary-general Tan Sri Annuar Musa and party vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s vehicle was also seen in the convoy.

Leaving the palace grounds after his interview, Najib described the meeting as “good” and said the MPs met the King individually for a few minutes.

“I cannot tell you (the name I nominated to be PM), that is a secret, ” he added.

Other Umno big guns who were also believed to have met the King were Gua Musang MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Sembrong MP Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.

A chartered bus with PAS MPs was also seen entering the palace while a van with Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) MPs also drove in, with former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri spotted among them.

After their interviews with the King in the evening, the MPs who stopped to speak to the media said that all went well, and urged the public to wait for the process to be completed.

MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong, who is the Ayer Hitam MP, advised the people to wait for the announcement by the King.

“We respect the King and His Majesty will announce the decision, ” he said.

Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin of Umno drew laughter when he told the media: “I nominated my own name.”

Umno’s Kuala Krau MP Datuk Seri Ismail Mohamed Said said the party would leave it to the King to decide on who deserved to be prime minister, or if Parliament should be dissolved.

GPS’ Petra Jaya MP Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, when asked which leader had his support for the top job, said he followed GPS’ official stand which was to back Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Earlier, Comptroller of the Royal Family and Household Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said the King would personally interview the MPs to get their views and feedback on the latest political developments.

He said all MPs were invited to attend a “simple personal interview with the King which will be completed in two to three minutes”.

“The interview process will be conducted personally by the King, and witnessed by Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali.

“All will be called (to meet the King), no one is exempted, ” he told a media briefing at Istana Negara.

Ahmad Fadil said the King could appoint a prime minister, who in his judgment, was likely to command the confidence of the majority of the MP in accordance with Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.

Three of the MPs who were interviewed yesterday said it was a very short meeting with the King which lasted two to three minutes each.

“I was invited to sit down and Tuanku asked me how I was. Then, he asked me what my solution would be for the political situation we are facing.

“I told him and he also asked me to write it down on paper. It was very graceful of him and everything was over in about three minutes, ” said Dr Wee.

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