Malaysia’s king calls for political stability to be maintained as snap elections are expected


KUALA LUMPUR – The King of Malaysia on Monday (February 28th) urged the country’s politicians to maintain political stability following a historic bipartisan agreement signed last year which, among other things, ruled out holding a general election before the middle of this year.

Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah, who made the call at the opening of the first meeting of the last session of Parliament, was referring to the memorandum of understanding concluded in September last year between Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yakob and the largest opposition bloc. Pakatan Harapan (PH).

The king’s remarks came amid speculation that Umno, the largest component of the current ruling bloc, could push for a snap general election early this year, especially if it does well in the polls. State in Johor next month.

Under the memorandum of understanding, parliament can only be dissolved from August this year, a timetable which, if adhered to, could mean polls will not take place until late in the year. ‘year.

“Thanks to this agreement and this maturity, the amendments to the Federal Constitution related to the 1963 agreement with Malaysia were successfully approved by more than two-thirds of the members of Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara last December,” said said Sultan Abdullah, referring to an amendment. Bill to elevate the status of Sabah and Sarawak as two of the three entities that make up Malaysia.

Dewan Rakyat refers to the Lower House of Parliament while Dewan Negara is the Senate or the Upper House.

The MA63 Bill passed unanimously on December 14 last year in a rare show of bipartisan unity in Parliament after a long period of instability since the collapse of the PH administration in 2020. It collapsed under the weight of defections from its ranks in early 2020.

The bill was one of a number of major reforms contained in the memorandum of understanding, which the government agreed to undertake in exchange for PH’s support of crucial appropriation bills.

The implementation of all the reforms is not expected before at least the end of July.

BowerGroup Asia Deputy Managing Director Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani told the Straits Times that politicians on both sides are now likely to heed the king’s call and not push for an election as long as protocol is met. The deal will not expire later this year.

“The king has been consistent in his message of preserving political stability over the past two years,” Mr. Asrul Hadi told ST.

But he also said the King’s remarks will not immediately dampen Umno’s ambitions, especially if the party performs exceptionally well in the Johor poll.

The government led by Datuk Seri Ismail, who is vice-president of Umno, only has a narrow majority of four seats in parliament.

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