AG: No Time Frame for Interim PM, Can Appoint Cabinet Members

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There is no time frame for how long someone can be the interim prime minister, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said tonight.

He also said an interim prime minister has all the powers attached to the powers of the Office of the Prime Minister, which include being able to appoint cabinet members if he chooses to do so.

Firdaus Latif

“Because Dewan Rakyat sits from March 10, a confidence motion can be moved for him or anyone else. There is no time limit to the office of an interim prime minister. Hence to state there is a 10-day or any other definite period is wrong,” Thomas said.

Thomas was commenting on the appointment of Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the interim prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong earlier today.

The former prime minister had, this afternoon, tendered his resignation to the King as the prime minister.

Dr Mahathir had earlier met PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamed Sabu, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail at his private residence.

He told them he was quitting, although they tried to talk him out of it.

An hour after announcing his resignation, Dr Mahathir also quit his post as Bersatu chairman, the party he founded before the 14th general election.

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin had earlier announced his party has quit Pakatan Harapan. He said the decision was made yesterday during a special meeting.

Dr Mahathir was granted an audience by the King in the evening after which the Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali, in a statement, said Dr Mahathir will continue to helm the country until a new prime minister and cabinet are appointed.

Zuki also said the Agong has assented to the prime minister’s advice to cancel the appointments of all cabinet members following his resignation.

This is in line with Article 43(5) of the Federal Constitution, he said.

“As such, the duties of administration members (encompassing the deputy prime minister, ministers, deputy ministers, and political secretaries) cease on the same date,” he said.