The system for appointing a prime minister is that the King calls the most convincing candidate (the one who won the most seats) and invites him to attempt to form a government, which is then tested in Parliament by a public vote of MPs.
If that person fails then the baton is passed to the next most likely candidate. Usually in a hung parliament the largest bloc finds enough support to govern through compromise.
However, this was not what happened when Muhyiddin stunningly achieved office in 2020 after betraying his allies despite having received the support of not one MP when earlier canvassed by the monarch.
His appointment was apparently based on his having presented so-called Statutory Declarations made by individual MPs in his favour to the King. The King based his decision on these, despite the fact that the opposing former PM, Dr Mahathir, was at the same time photographed with 114 MPs himself holding their signatures up for all to see.
How could the King have been so badly fooled? Muhyiddin was later widely denounced as having lied to the Agong, who somehow believed the fake SDs. The imposter was then allowed to postpone Parliament for several weeks until he had bought in enough support from here and there to turn the tables – resulting in a vast Cabinet of jumped up dealmakers.
This coalition of rag-tag losers then proceeded to bleed and misrule Malaysia through the Covid pandemic whilst indulging in prolonged infighting that eventually resulted in Muhyiddin being replaced by his UMNO rivals in the top post.
Now, once more a loser (Muhyiddin’s faction of PN achieved just 22 seats and his coalition came in second) it seems the man is up to the same tricks, sending missives to the palace and yet more alleged SDs from ‘a majority of MPs’.
The King has no role descending into the grubby minutiae of party politics. He should not be bothered with petty interviews of individual MPs or scanning signatures in such a way.
His more dignified role is merely to come to an impartial conclusion as to the most supported party amongst MPs and to offer its leader (just one interview by one person at the palace) the opportunity to form an administration.
Most importantly, this should be an open and transparent affair. The person the population agrees has the majority of the votes (PH received 38% of all votes and 82 seats, PN received 30% and just 73 seats, so no confusion there) ought to be seen to be invited to the Palace. His/her claim to have a majority of MPs ought to be openly tested on the floor of Parliament.
Yet, once again, the once failed already, ex-minority PM is trying the same trick behind closed doors as he did before. Such shenanigans should stop.