11 July 2024

Malaysia’s national palace has postponed audiences with the king for allies of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, senior opposition leaders said on Wednesday, amid a fresh tussle for the country’s premiership.

Anwar had on Tuesday met with King Al-Sultan Abdullah to prove that he has a “convincing” parliamentary majority to form a new government, sparking a fresh bout of political wrangling just months after Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin rose to the post.

In a statement, the top leaders of the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) and Amanah said they had initially been summoned for separate audiences with the king.

“However, last night His Majesty’s senior private secretary informed us that both sessions with His Majesty have been postponed,” read the statement, signed off by DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng and Amanah President Mohamad Sabu.

They did not say if new dates had been set.

At a news conference on Monday, Anwar said he had presented documents to the king to prove he had the support of over 120 lawmakers in the 222-seat parliament.

But the palace later said in a statement that Anwar had submitted the number of lawmakers that he said supported him, but not the identities of his supporters.

The king plays a largely ceremonial role but he can appoint a prime minister who in his view is likely to command a majority. New governments are usually elected in Malaysia but the king plays a role in certain instances.

Earlier this year, at the height of political wrangling that saw to the collapse of the administration of Mahathir Mohamad, the king appointed Muhyiddin as premier after meeting every member of parliament to learn who they supporters.

Critics say Muhyiddin, who has survived on a two-seat parliamentary majority, had stolen power by shifting alliances instead of earning it at the ballot box.