See More on Facebook


Malaysia gets its 7th Prime Minister

After much confusion, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was officially sworn in as the country’s 7th prime minister on Thursday night (May 10).

Written by

Updated: May 11, 2018

After much confusion, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was officially sworn in as the country’s 7th prime minister on Thursday night (May 10).

The opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan won a simple majority of 113 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats in the country’s 14th general election on Wednesday (May 9) in an unexpected victory over the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition which has held power since independence.

The 92-year-old was sworn in shortly before 10 pm, following meetings between the King and Pakatan Harapan party leaders.

The ceremony marked the end of a day of confusion and speculation over a delay in swearing in the new prime minister after official results were announced.

The palace had said on Thursday morning that Mahathir would not be sworn in on May 10, contradicting previous reports that the ceremony would be held at 9:30 am.

Defeated former prime minister Najib Razak’s also seemed to suggest during a press conference held the same morning that Mahathir’s appointment to the role of prime minister may not yet be confirmed.

While Najib declared that he “accept[s] the verdict of the people,” he went on to point out that no party had secured a simple majority and that the final decision was in the hands of the King – perhaps referring to the fact that Pakatan Harapan is not formally registered as a coalition.

“Barisan is committed to respect the principles of Parliament. But because no single party achieved a simple majority, the Agong [King] will make a decision on who will be prime minister,” Najib said, according to The Star.

He urged the people to respect the decision that will be made by the Agong, and trust that the Agong will make the best decision.

“Now the rakyat [people] will wait and see if the promises by [Pakatan Harapan] that were made in their manifesto and speeches are kept,” The Star quotes Najib as saying.

He also took the opportunity to deny that there was any cheating by members of his coalition, and to thank members of Barisan Nasional and their families.

Speaking at a press conference later on Thursday, Mahathir emphasized that there was “an urgency here to form the government today,” and said that he expected to be sworn in by 5 pm.

“We need to form the government now today, because currently there is no government of Malaysia,” he said, adding that there is no rule of law without a government.

He pointed out that the Constitution of Malaysia allows for a person to become prime minister if they have the support of the majority of members of Parliament, The Star reported.

“It doesn’t say that it should have the support of any party. As long as there is majority of support from members of Parliament, he is entitled to become prime minister,” he said.

All parties in Pakatan Harapan, as well as parties that support the coalition in Sabah, signed a declaration of support which was received by the King, The Star reported.

A petition urging the Conference of Rulers to endorse a Pakatan Harapan government was also circulated online, garnering almost 65,000 signatures by midday, according to The Star.

When questioned at the press conference on whether the delays in his swearing could be because the royalty did not like him, Mahathir said he didn’t know, The Star reported.

“I don’t know about not liking me. I’m a very nice person. I have the support of the majority of the members of parliament. That is what the provision of the Constitution says. It doesn’t say I like you, I don’t like you, I love you,” he said.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, the Palace strongly refuted allegations that the King had deliberately delayed the appointment of Mahathir as prime minister.

“His Majesty the King has faithfully carried out his duties and functions in accordance with the Federal Constitution in appointing Tun Dr Mahathir as Prime Minister,” it read.

“His majesty the King strongly supports and respects the democratic process and the wishes of his people.”

Mahathir’s swearing-in ceremony marked the start of his second stint as Malaysia’s prime minister, having held the position for a record 22 years previously.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here


Xi: Step up fight against corruption

The president calls for more measures to be taken against corruption. Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, called on Friday for all-around efforts to fight corruption and improve the nation’s oversight system to secure even greater strategic outcomes in full and strict governance over the Party. Xi, China’s president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark at the third plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection in Beijing. The sweeping victory that has been secured in the anti-graft campaign must be consolidated by strengthening deterrence so that officials “don’t dare to, are unable to and have no desire to” commit acts of corruption, Xi said. To this end, anti-corruption efforts in financial fields should be stepped up, particularly in key projects, areas and posi

By China Daily
January 14, 2019


Fugitive Jho Low says no connection between 1Mdb and China

Jho Low rubbishes Wall Street Journal report about China’s alleged role in 1MDB probe. Fugitive businessman Jho Low has dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal linking China to Malaysian state investment fund 1MDB as “a continuation of a trial by media” led by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. The Journal said in a report on Monday (Jan 7) that senior Chinese leaders offered in 2016 to help bail out 1Malaysia Development Berhad or 1MDB, which is at the centre of a swelling, multi-billion-dollar graft scandal. The report cited minutes from a series of previously undisclosed meetings. Chinese officials told visiting Malaysians that China would use its influence to try to get the United States and other countries to drop their probes of allegations

By The Straits Times
January 10, 2019


Malaysian rulers to pick new king by the month’s end

Previous king stepped down in unprecedented move on Sunday. Malaysia’s Conference of Rulers will meet in about two weeks’ time to elect the country’s new constitutional monarch and his deputy after the King, Sultan Muhammad V, stepped down on Sunday in an unprecedented move. The 16th King, or Supreme Ruler, and his deputy will be sworn in at the end of the month, Keeper of the Royal Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad said in a press statement. Yesterday morning, six of Malaysia’s nine ruling monarchs held a meeting at the national palace, Istana Negara, following Sultan Muhammad’s decision to step down as the Malaysian King. “The rulers att

By The Straits Times
January 8, 2019


Taiwan’s ruling party DPP elects moderate as new chairman

The by-election comes after a disastrous local election cycle where the pro-independence party lost heavily. Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) elected a new chairman on Sunday (Jan 6), choosing a moderate to fill up the post vacated by President Tsai Ing-wen after the party’s disappointing performance in recent polls. Mr Cho Jung-tai, a consensus candidate backed by major party figures, took 72.6 per cent or 24,699 of the ballots cast by party members, according to Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA). The former Cabinet secretary-general comfortably defeated Mr You Ying-lung, an openly pro-independence rival who supported a re

By The Straits Times
January 7, 2019


Preview: A year of elections for Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia will have a busy political calendar in 2019 with voters in Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines heading to the polls within the year. Thailand In December, Thailand lifted its ban on political activity that has been in place for the past four years as the kingdom prepares for a general election on Feb 24—the country’s first in eight years. The last election the country attempted, in 2014, was sabotaged by anti-government protesters acted to prevent the Pheu Thai Party and its head Yingluck Shinawatra from returning to power. Pheu Thai went on to be ousted by a coup led by then-army chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha and has spent the last five years under military rule. Since then, the military junta has rewritten the Thai Constitution in a wa

By Quinn Libson
January 7, 2019


Previewing Sheikh Hasina’s fourth term

A unanimous poll decision leaves Sheikh Hasina with many decisions to make. It is the huge gaps in the numbers of votes polled by the winners and the losers in the 11th national election that apparently unveiled a “controlled and patterned” nature of the process of polls. A foreign media commentator wondered why any “control” was exercised over BNP activists since the announcement of election schedule in September last. In his opinion, the ruling coalition or Mahajote contestants would have won by a handsome margin without keeping BNP workers at bay anyway! More so when the BNP was waffling and unprepared! In fact, a hundred BNP candidates’ deposits have been forfeited as they couldn’t even secure one-tenth of their adversaries’ tally. In BNP’s last election debacle when they had around 30 seats, deposits of only 10 contestants were forfeited. But I have

By Daily Star
January 4, 2019