DPM doesn’t take over if PM quits, says academic

The deputy prime minister does not automatically take over if a prime minister steps down, according to an academic, as politicians and others continue to call for Muhyiddin Yassin’s resignation.

(FMT) – Syed Arabi Idid, a professor of political communications, said that the whole Cabinet would have to quit if Muhyiddin resigns from his post as prime minister.

“The post cannot automatically go to anyone else, even to his deputy,” he said.

He suggested that the “Perak model” of changing the head of government be used, referring to the change of menteri besar in Perak in December, when Ahmad Faizal Azumu of Bersatu was ousted through a confidence vote in the state assembly. There were only 10 votes in his favour and 48 against, with one abstention.

Perak Umno chief Saarani Mohamad, who is assemblyman for Kota Tampan, was appointed as menteri besar by Sultan Nazrin Shah after assembly members from PAS and Bersatu pledged their support through the presentation of sworn statements to the sultan.

Syed Arabi said the Perak model could also work at the federal level, but without the use of statutory declarations. He suggested that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong ask leaders of political parties to state their preferred choice of candidate to be prime minister.

“It should not involve individual statutory declarations as MPs are known to jump ship, complicating matters. But the King could call all political leaders from the Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. Let them state their preferred choice and based on the majority, a new prime minister can be appointed,” he told FMT.

Constitutional expert Bastian Pius Vendargon said the Federal Constitution states that when the prime minister resigns the entire Cabinet resigns with him.

However, the prime minister would be acting unconstitutionally if he refused to resign after losing a confidence vote in the Dewan Rakyat.

If that happened, the King could demand that Muhyiddin resign or remove him, Vendargon said.”The King can appoint someone who in his judgment commands the majority in Dewan Rakyat,” he said.