Malaysia king calls meeting of royals to break political deadlock

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 23 2022 05:42 PM

Malaysian opposition leader chairman Anwar Ibrahim (center) with senior leaders in Pakatan Harapan (The Alliance of Hope) react during a press conference after the 15th General Election in Subang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 20, 2022. Malaysia held its 15th general election (GE15) on 19 November, with the votes still being counted by the Election Commission. Fazry Ismail, EPA-EFE
Malaysian opposition leader chairman Anwar Ibrahim (center) with senior leaders in Pakatan Harapan (The Alliance of Hope) react during a press conference after the 15th General Election in Subang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 20, 2022. Malaysia held its 15th general election (GE15) on 19 November, with the votes still being counted by the Election Commission. Fazry Ismail, EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR –– Malaysia's king has called for royal rulers to meet on Thursday to resolve a political impasse that left the country without a prime minister days after inconclusive polls, the palace said.

Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin remain the frontrunners for the top job. 

Malaysia's king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, has the discretionary power to appoint a premier whom he believes has the majority of lawmakers' support.

The palace said Wednesday the meeting of the country's Malay rulers is aimed at helping the king "make the decision for the benefit and well-being of the country and the people".

Largely Muslim Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne rotates every 5 years between rulers of the 9 Malaysian states headed by centuries-old Islamic royalty.

The system has been in place since Malaysia's independence from Britain in 1957.

While their role is largely ceremonial, Malaysia's Islamic royalty command great respect, especially from Muslim Malays, and criticizing them is strictly forbidden.

At the weekend election, Anwar's Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition won the most number of seats at 82 while Muhyiddin's Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) grouping grabbed 73, but both missed the simple majority of 112.

The once mighty Barisan Nasional -- dominated by jailed ex-leader Najib Razak's United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party -- trailed far behind with 30 seats.

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