New premiership: Abang Johari leaves it to the King

Abang Johari (seated centre) addressing a press conference.

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By Karen Bong

MIRI, Aug 16: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg will leave it to the wisdom of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to decide on the new Prime Minister.

Abang Johari was responding to a question as to who will Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) back as the new Prime Minister following the resignation of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and his entire Cabinet on Monday that have led to the collapse of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration.
“I will leave it the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s best judgement (to decide on who will become the next Prime Minister),” he told a press conference without revealing GPS’ choice of successor.
Abang Johari was in Miri today to launch the groundbreaking ceremony of Miri LAKU head office and the handing over of Northern Hill Reservoir to LAKU Management Sdn Bhd.
Following the fall of PN government, Muhyiddin has been re-appointed by the King as caretaker prime minister until a new prime minister is appointed given that the country is still struggling with the deadliest Covid-19 outbreak.
The King has ruled out the possibility of a general election in the short term after being informed by the Election Commission (EC) chairman Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh that a total of 484 or 79 per cent out of the 613 state constituencies in the country were Covid-19 red zones.
He also noted that all health facilities in the country were at a worrying stage.
The monarch is facing the daunting task of appointing a new government with no leader so far able to present a clear majority.
Yesterday, the King set a 4pm deadline today (Aug 18) for all 220 MPs (There are in total 222 parliamentary seats.  Two seats have been vacated due to the decease of two MPs) to declare their choice to succeed outgoing Muhyiddin as the next prime minister.
It was reported that the King has called for a meeting with the country’s nine State Malay Rulers on coming Friday (Aug 20) to discuss the nominations for the next prime minister and possibly resolving the month-long political crisis that has left the nation without a prime minister for the second time in 18 months.
According to sources with knowledge of Friday’s Rulers’ meeting, the meeting is important as aside from discussing who might be Malaysia’s ninth premier, the proposal for a unity government could also be on the agenda.
After yesterday afternoon’s unique joint audience of all the major party chiefs along with the King and his deputy Sultan Nazrin Azlan Shah, several leaders such as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the King called for a change in the “shape of politics” and “a pooling of the strengths of all parties with a new understanding in the spirit of cooperation”.
One official who could not be named due to the confidentiality of the audience revealed that the “King wants a bipartisan Cabinet”.
As of last night, the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition decided to back Umno vice president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for the prime minister position.
Among opposition MPs, the contenders that have been named are Pakatan Harapan (PH) chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal. — DayakDaily