Salem Radio Network News Friday, December 9, 2022


Malaysian PM to meet king amid calls to hold early polls

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob will have a “routine meeting” with the country’s king on Thursday, a spokesperson said, as he faces calls to seek consent from the monarch to call an election ahead of schedule this year.

An election is not due until September 2023, but Ismail is under pressure from some factions of his ruling coalition to hold the vote earlier for a stronger mandate and due to infighting.

Ismail will meet the king at 1600 local time (0800 GMT) for his weekly audience, the premier’s spokesperson told Reuters.

“It’s just a normal, routine meeting that the PM has with the king before the cabinet meeting,” the spokesperson said. They did not comment on whether Ismail would seek dissolution of parliament.

Last week, Ismail’s United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party, which forms the biggest component of the ruling coalition, said the premier will seek King Al-Sultan Abdullah’s consent to dissolve parliament this year, leading to speculation that Ismail could call for polls any day.

Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy and the king typically acts on the prime minister’s advice. But the king does have certain discretionary powers, including withholding consent for dissolution of the parliament.

There have been calls from the public, opposition and even some ruling party lawmakers to hold off from having an election at the end of the year due to the seasonal monsoon rains and floods.

Malaysia was hit with unusually heavy rain late last year and floods that caused around 6 billion ringgit ($1.30 billion) in damage.

The king visited the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre on Thursday morning and was briefed on weather conditions and flood preparation by various government agencies, state news agency Bernama reported.

The closed-door briefing was held at the request of the king, Bernama reported.

Ismail’s government is scheduled to table its 2023 budget on Friday.

($1 = 4.6290 ringgit)

(Reporting by Rozanna Latiff and A. Ananthalakshmi; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)


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