Dr Mahathir says not right time for Parliament to push confidence vote on PM Ismail Sabri

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob arrives at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur July 29, 2021. — Bernama pic
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob arrives at Parliament, Kuala Lumpur July 29, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Opposition lawmaker Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not think new Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob should table a confidence vote in Parliament right now for validation of his appointment, despite calls to do so.

The former two-time prime minister said he does not think many Malaysians are keen for another government change so soon should Ismail fail the confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat, Utusan Malaysia reported today.

The Langkawi MP added that Malaysia would become a global laughing stock if the government were to change again.

“I don’t think we want to change prime ministers again. Hence, if he goes to Parliament and does not get a majority, we have to change again; the world is laughing at us,” Dr Mahathir was quoted telling reporters at his service centre in Langkawi, Kedah yesterday.

Ismail, the Bera MP, was sworn in as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister last Saturday succeeding Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who resigned on August 16 after 15 Umno MPs pulled out from supporting his Perikatan Nasional government.

Prior to appointing Ismail, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah had issued a statement on August 18 urging the next prime minister to table a confidence vote in Parliament as it is the proper constitutional thing to do to gain legitimacy.

But Utusan Malaysia reported former attorney general Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali citing the Federal Constitution, saying a confidence vote in Parliament was unnecessary to prove Ismail’s support once he had been appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Under Article 43(2)(a), the prime minister must be an MP who, in the judgment of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, is “likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the (lower) House.”

Dr Mahathir also expressed hope that Ismail would streamline his Cabinet, picking only those with the knowledge, experience and ability.

“I hope the size of the Cabinet is not big. Every minister should have the know-how.

“Ministers during Muhyiddin’s reign did not do any work, they only got their salaries. I hope it doesn’t become like that again,” he was quoted as saying.

Ismail has promised to announce his Cabinet this week.

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