After 'flip-flop' taunt, Ismail Sabri says didn't want to overstep Agong's authority on GE15 date

·2-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 5 — Accused of being inconsistent, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today said he did not wish to overstep and usurp the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s authority by announcing a date for the 15th general election.

Ismail Sabri said that while he had the authority to give advice on the dissolution of Parliament paving the way for the next election, in the end, it is the Yang di-Pertuan Agong who had the sole discretion to decide.

“Their behaviour is akin to being disrespectful to His Majesty, but as for me I do respect the King.

“Better for my statement to be flip-flops so they do not know when the election will be called,” he told reporters after officiating the World Environment Day event at Taman Tugu here this morning.

Ismail Sabri was responding to criticism from the DAP Opposition over his remarks on Malaysia’s next election, the subject of great speculation with some political observers predicting it will be called before the end of this year.

“If I announce earlier, then DAP would be rejoicing since they can prepare early. But we do not know when.

“In any case, the prospect of calling an election will be discussed with both the Umno and Barisan Nasional top echelons, including the Cabinet as well,” he said.

He insisted that not giving a fixed timeline for elections was consistent with the behaviour of past prime ministers, including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who returned as Malaysia’s seventh PM with the support of the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

“The Cabinet will give me a mandate in order for me to seek an audience with His Majesty and advise him.

“I cannot provide an exact date because that would be me overstepping His Majesty’s authority,” Ismail Sabri added.

He said the Agong could accept or reject his advice in accordance with the Federal Constitution.

Last week, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke accused Ismail Sabri of making “flip-flops” on when the next national polls.

Loke claimed the PM changed his tune at the recent Barisan Nasional convention when the latter said he would not wait another second before dissolving Parliament if the ruling coalition was ready contrary to what he told Nikkei Asia in a Tokyo interview last month.

In the interview with the Japanese financial daily published on May 31, Ismail Sabri downplayed an early election, reasoning that it was not the right time due to Malaysia’s rising inflation.

Malaysia is not due for elections until September 2023.

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