KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 24 — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong has accepted Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation earlier today as the seventh prime minister, but has now reappointed him to hold the position in the interim, Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali announced this evening.
Mohd Zuki said the Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah made the appointment after accepting Dr Mahathir’s resignation.
“However, His Majesty has assented to appoint YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister, while waiting for the appointment of the new Prime Minister in line with Article 43(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution.
“Therefore, in this period, he will manage the country’s administration until the new Prime Minister is appointed and the Cabinet is formed,” he said in a brief statement.
The Federal Constitution’s Article 43(2)(a) provides for the Agong to appoint a prime minister from among the members of the Dewan Rakyat who — in his judgment — is “likely to command the confidence of the majority”.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Dr Mahathir had sent his resignation letter to the Agong at 1pm.
This was the second time Dr Mahathir has quit the post, making him both Malaysia’s longest-serving and shortest-serving prime minister.
Dr Mahathir, 94, had been prime minister of Malaysia twice in the nation’s history.
In his first stint, Dr Mahathir was the prime minister under the Barisan Nasional (BN) administration for 22 years or five terms between July 16, 1981 to October 31, 2003, having first assumed the position when he was aged 56 and then stepping down aged 78.
After leading the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to victory in the 14th general elections on May 9, 2018, Dr Mahathir at age 92 was sworn in the next day and took up the position of prime minister again, almost 15 years after his “retirement” from politics when he gave up the post.
Dr Mahathir’s resignation today is just about three months shy of PH’s second anniversary in power.