KUALA LUMPUR: The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the party respects the prerogative of the prime minister to advise the Malaysian king on the dissolution of parliament.
“That is not the party’s power. We respect the prerogative of the prime minister. If given the choice, I would prefer it (the dissolution) to be done yesterday,” Ahmad Zahid told reporters on Tuesday (Oct 4) after meeting with UMNO division leaders at the party headquarters.
Ahmad Zahid was asked if the party had given Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob a deadline to seek a dissolution of parliament.
Speculation is intense that Mr Ismail Sabri might dissolve parliament after the tabling of Budget 2023 on Friday.
Under the Federal Constitution it is the prerogative of the prime minister to decide when the election is called, although the king must first give his consent to dissolve parliament.
Ahmad Zahid was confident that the king would be guided by the constitution in giving his consent to the request from the prime minister.
“The king would act in accordance with the Federal Constitution and we are confident that the king will consent to the dissolution based on what is best for the people,” said Ahmad Zahid.
Ahmad Zahid who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering said that the meeting with UMNO leaders from its 191 divisions on Tuesday was the last one before Malaysia’s 15th General Election (GE15).
He said that the UMNO candidates to stand in GE15 would be decided by the party’s top five leaders and that this would be based on the criteria of winnability, acceptability, and likeability.
“Whoever fulfil these criteria can become a candidate for UMNO and represent Barisan Nasional,” he said, adding that no candidates from the party would belong to any particular “cluster”.
Mr Ismail Sabri who also attended the Tuesday meeting with UMNO division heads, had earlier confirmed that he will have an audience with the king on Thursday.
He did not specify any particular agenda for his meeting with the king but he did say that the decision on when to dissolve parliament is his prerogative as prime minister.