KUALA LUMPUR, Aug. 19 (Reuters) – Former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob appeared poised to form the next government after securing a parliamentary majority from the same coalition that collapsed earlier this week, said Thursday the media and legislators.
Muhyiddin Yassin resigned as prime minister on Monday after admitting he had lost his alliance’s support, ending a busy 17-month tenure and plunging the country into new political chaos amid a COVID surge -19 and an economic slump.
If confirmed, the appointment of Ismail Sabri would mark the return of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) party to leadership, three years after its defeat in the parliamentary elections due to widespread corruption allegations, especially around the scandal of several billion dollars from the 1Malaysia investment fund. Berhad Development (1MDB).
UMNO, which ruled the country for over 60 years previously, was part of Muhyiddin’s coalition but was reluctant to play supporting roles. Two governments that came after the elections proved fragile and short-lived.
Ismail Sabri won majority support with 114 lawmakers out of the 222 seats in parliament supporting him, The Star and other media reported.
King Al-Sultan Abdullah, the constitutional monarch, wants any new prime minister to go through a parliamentary confidence vote to show he has majority support.
Lawmakers backing Ismail Sabri were invited to meet with the king on Thursday to verify their support, UMNO lawmaker Ahmad Maslan said on Twitter on Thursday.
They include lawmakers from the same political parties that were part of Muhyiddin’s coalition, he said.
The opposition bloc, which largely supported Anwar Ibrahim, was not invited to the palace, opposition lawmaker Ong Kian Ming said on Twitter.
The king is due to meet the rest of the country’s royal family on Friday. A decision on the new prime minister is expected to be announced after that.
Report by A. Ananthalakshmi; Edited by Christian Schmollinger
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.