Palace instructs MPs to vote on new PM in writing

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Istana Negara has instructed members of the Dewan Rakyat to submit their choice of prime minister in writing.

The MPs will have until 4pm tomorrow to do so. Their letters have to be certified as true.

This instruction was sent by Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun to all MPs this morning. Parliament officers have acknowledged that Azhar had indeed penned the letter.

“As instructed by decree from His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, I hereby give notice to you to submit a letter stating clearly one MP whom you support to be the ninth prime minister,” wrote Azhar.

The letter has to be submitted through fax, email or WhatsApp and addressed to Nazim Mohd Alim, the private secretary to the Agong.

Hand-delivered or late submissions would not be entertained, said Azhar.

Azhar also reminded MPs to maintain secrecy over the contents of the letter.

While there was no set format for the statutory declarations, MPs were informed that this should include details of only one candidate, with a clear and unconditional declaration of the MP’s support.

The SDs should also include the date, the MP’s signature, the signature of a witness or official stamp if the witness was an advocate, solicitor, commissioner of oaths or notary public.

Under Article 43(2)(a), the Agong has to appoint a prime minister who “in his judgment is likely” to command the confidence of the majority in the Dewan Rakyat.

Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as prime minister yesterday after failing to hold on to his majority. He is currently serving as caretaker prime minister.

Meanwhile, social media users have urged members of parliament (MPs) to make public their choice for prime minister (PM).

Some also said the choice of prime minister should be done physically in Parliament as Malaysians have the right to know who their MP endorses as PM.

Twitter user @zemiahnour tagged Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming in his tweet that read: “Salam sejahtera (greetings) YB @imokman, I’d like to request that you openly declare/publish your SD (to support which MP as PM candidate) to the public, to create accountability especially to your voter base.”

Ong replied with: “Not an issue. My stand and the stand of my party has been clear. I will support @anwaribrahim as my PM candidate. Unless otherwise instructed by the party, this will be my vote.”

Co-founder of the Undi18 movement Qyira Yusri tweeted: “This is not what we meant when we say go online, Art Harun.”

Segambut MP Hannah Yeoh pointed out that lawmakers were given a short time span to decide on their choice of prime minister.

“Took Art (Azhar) seven months to call for a meeting. He gave us 24 hours to give him a name.

“Even my online order for a nice butter cake needed three days to prepare a cake for delivery,” Yeoh tweeted.

This is the first time a Dewan Rakyat Speaker has gotten involved in the process of appointing a new prime minister.

There is no constitutional provision or precedent for the Dewan Rakyat Speaker to get involved in the process.