October 10, 2022
KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob reportedly sought King Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah’s consent on Sunday for a dissolution of Parliament.
No official announcement has been made, but Malaysia’s New Straits Times daily, citing sources, said Datuk Seri Ismail had put forward the request during an audience with the ruler on Sunday afternoon.
News portal Free Malaysia Today also reported that the Premier is expected to make an important announcement on Monday.
Earlier on Sunday, the ruler urged government agencies and the people of Malaysia to brace themselves for the annual monsoon floods.
“I would like to remind my subjects to brace themselves and make preparations to face possible weather phenomena,” said Sultan Abdullah at a celebration of Prophet Muhammad’s birthday at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, which was also attended by the Prime Minister.
Those opposing polls this year – including the opposition, civil society organisations and Umno’s government partner Perikatan Nasional – have cited the potential monsoon floods as the main reason that elections should be put off until 2023.
The King’s remarks came just as flash floods started affecting some in the northern state of Kedah on Sunday, while the National Disaster Management Agency on the same day issued flood alerts for several areas in four different states. The agency said that a high-tide phenomenon is expected to last until Oct 13.
Mr Ismail had an audience with the King last Thursday, but both the Prime Minister and the Palace made no mention of discussions regarding a dissolution.
The Premier has the prerogative to advise the ruler on dissolving Parliament, but the King also has discretion on whether to consent to a request for dissolution.
Speculation of an imminent election has been growing steadily in October after Umno leaders agreed during a meeting on Sept 30 that an election should be held in 2022. Mr Ismail, who had previously resisted the election push led by his party president Zahid Hamidi, also agreed to hold an election this year following the meeting.
Talk of a possible dissolution in the coming days has persisted, even though Sultan Abdullah will be in London from Monday to next Sunday.
He is attending the Wednesday opening of the Battersea Power Station office, residential and lifestyle redevelopment – which was bought by Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Permodalan Nasional Berhad in 2018 – and visiting Britain’s new monarch King Charles III.
Zahid and several key Umno leaders aligned to him want an election in 2022 as the party aims to capitalise on its recent big wins at the state legislature elections of Melaka and Johor.
Critics have also accused the Umno chief of leading an election push to avoid a possible conviction in an ongoing graft trial that is set to conclude in November.
One of Zahid’s key allies in the party, former premier Najib Razak, was convicted and imprisoned for graft in late August.
An election window in 2022 is widely believed to be open only in November, with the impact of monsoon floods expected to be felt largely towards December.
The monsoon floods in 2021 proved to be the deadliest in Malaysia’s history, with at least 54 deaths and RM6 billion (S$1.85 billion) in losses. It affected eight states in Peninsular Malaysia.