Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah inspects an honour guard in Putrajaya, Malaysia. File photo/Reuters
Malaysia’s King Al-Sultan Abdullah will consult with other rulers to discuss proposals by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, the palace said on Saturday, after sources told Reuters the premier had asked the king to declare a state of emergency.
Muhyiddin met with the king on Friday to present the emergency proposal that includes a suspension of parliament, sources said - a move that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim denounced as an attempt by the premier to cling to power amid a power struggle.
The proposal comes as Malaysia sees a resurgence in coronavirus cases and as Muhyiddin faces a leadership challenge from Anwar, who last month said he had majority support in parliament to oust the premier.
The palace did not identify the recommendations made by Muhyiddin, and said the king will soon hold the consultation with other Malay rulers.
“Al-Sultan Abdullah greatly understands the need for the country’s administration to continue to tackle the threat of COVID-19,” the palace said in a statement. The Council of Rulers, which groups the heads of Malaysia’s nine royal houses, has the power to withhold consent from any law and deliberate on questions of national policy.
A source familiar with the matter said the rulers will meet on Sunday.
Muhyiddin’s office has not commented on the emergency proposal.
The government is scheduled to propose its 2021 budget on Nov. 6, and there have been questions over whether it can muster a majority in parliament for that.
Defeat on the budget would count as a vote of no-confidence in Muhyiddin and could trigger an election. Emergency rule might mean the budget would not be put to a vote at that time.
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was the first to be given the vaccine, developed by US drugmaker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech, as part of government efforts to reassure people of the vaccine’s safety.
Malaysia’s King Sultan Abdullah will not be granting an audience to anyone for a week as he is under observation at a hospital, a palace official said on Friday, as opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim seeks a meeting with him to form a new government.
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim will make an “important announcement” on Tuesday after a meeting with the king in which he aims to prove he has the parliamentary support needed to oust Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri Yaakob, will have to draw on his experience of more than a decade in governance as he takes the reins of a country beset by political turmoil, raging COVID-19 infections and a pandemic-battered economy.
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