KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 25 — In an unprecedented move, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah will conduct a one-to-one interview of all MPs today and tomorrow at Istana Negara, the palace announced today.
Comptroller of the Royal Household for Istana Negara Datuk Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin said His Majesty will interview each MP for two to three minutes.
The palace announcement comes in the wake of political developments amid talk that there will be a realignment of the ruling coalition of parties.
Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali will be present at the interviews, Ahmad Fadil said at a special press conference at the palace.
He said the interviews will begin at 2.30 pm today with the first batch of 90 MPs.
“The session will continue tomorrow with the rest of the lawmakers,” he said.
Ahmad Fadil said the interviews will be conducted not according to parties but on an individual basis.
“Everyone will be called. No one will be exempted. They will be called in one by one,” he said.
Replying to a question, he said: “I believe this is the first time, at federal level. The King wants to conduct these interviews for transparency so that there will be no speculation in the media.
“We will share information on the developments from time to time.”
Ahmad Fadil said His Majesty’s gesture is in accordance with Article 43 (2) of the Federal Constitution.
The article touches on, among others, the appointment of a prime minister who, in the judgment of the King, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.
Asked whether Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will also attend the interview, Ahmad Fadil said: “It seems that he had an audience with His Majesty yesterday. So, I believe that (attending the interview) is not necessary.”
Ahmad Fadil said Al-Sultan Abdullah observed that the country remains peaceful and that peace will be guaranteed under His Majesty’s reign.
The Istana Negara interviews come a day after Dr Mahathir resigned as the prime minister and was appointed as the interim prime minister.
Last Sunday saw a hive of activity as political parties from both sides of the divide were huddled in separate meetings as speculation mounted of the possible formation of a new coalition government with different partners.
Dr Mahathir’s resignations as prime minister and Bersatu chairman caught everyone by surprise as he had repeatedly said he wanted to stay on as the PM until after Malaysia hosts the APEC meeting in November.
The precursor of yesterday’s dramatic announcements is believed to be the PH Presidential Council meeting last Friday which was reported to be a heated affair over the matter of the promised power transition.
However, Dr Mahathir had told a press conference afterwards that the meeting decided that he had the final say over when to step down after the APEC meeting.