After Dr M’s resignation letter, ex-judge tells what’s next

Dr Mahathir Mohamad with members of his Cabinet. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Yang di-Pertuan Agong will have to appoint a prime minister from among Dewan Rakyat members as required by the constitution, retired judge Gopal Sri Ram said today, hours after Dr Mahathir Mohamad submitted his resignation to the king.

“The appointment is at his discretion and cannot be challenged in a court of law,” he added.

Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution states that the king appoints as prime minister a member of the Dewan Rakyat who, in his judgment, is likely to command the confidence of the majority.

Sri Ram said the prime minister would then form a Cabinet to run his administration.

Gopal Sri Ram.

“Preferably, the prime minister should go to the house as soon as possible and take a confidence vote.

“If he wins the vote, he remains in office with his Cabinet members.”

However, if he loses the vote, Sri Ram said the prime minister would go back to the king to report the outcome.

“The prime minister can request that the king dissolve the house for a fresh election to be held.

“If the request is refused, he has to tender his resignation for the king to appoint another MP as prime minister.”

There are currently 222 MPs in the house.

Lawyer Bastian Pius Vendargon said there is now no government as the Cabinet ceased to exist following Mahathir’s resignation.

“The deputy prime minister’s position is not provided for in the constitution. As such, he/she cannot assume the role of prime minister in the interim,” he said.