KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed on Tuesday that he will soon have an audience with King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.
The prime minister said the decision on when to dissolve parliament is his prerogative, even though he didn't specify the agenda to be held on Thursday.
This comes after the supreme council of the United Malays National Organisation UMNO decided last Friday night that parliament must be dissolved soon so that general elections can be held this year. The supreme council said that Mr Ismail Sabri will present a proposed dissolution date to the king.
The prime minister was quoted as saying by the New Straits Times: Some people say parliament dissolution will be done before the 2023 budget, some say after budget on Monday.
Others say this month or November or even next year. There is speculation that Ismail Sabri might dissolve the parliament after the budget for 2023 is tabled this Friday.
He told reporters that his audience with the king was an ordinary pre-Cabinet briefing.
Every week before the Cabinet meeting, I meet the agong audience who are more interested in Cabinet meeting papers, he was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini.
On Tuesday, Ismail Sabri said that while anyone can provide views on when parliament should be dissolved, the decision remains his prerogative.
Before that, the dissolution was never discussed openly. In the past, if the prime minister announced that parliament would be dissolved, it would be dissolved, he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
There was no such thing as other political parties giving their views or trying to interfere. According to Free Malaysia Today, past prime ministers did not discuss the dissolution of parliament with their own parties, according to Mr Ismail Sabri.
If the prime minister feels it is the right time to dissolve parliament, he will seek a dissolution.
I will look at all ideas and views. The prime minister said these views do not have any bearing on the power of the prime minister to propose the dissolution of parliament to the king.
He said that the Memorandum of Understanding on Political Cooperation with the Opposition would be valid until the parliament is dissolved.
He said that while the opposition could give their views on the dissolution of parliament, it could not influence the decision of the prime minister.
The five-year mandate of the current government will expire in July 2023, and the 15th general election must be held within 60 days of the dissolution of parliament.
Ismail Sabri is facing mounting pressure from his party to dissolve the parliament. He has yet to commit to a timeline for the polls.
There have been calls from the opposition and his own cabinet members to avoid holding elections during the upcoming year-end flood season because of the inflation pressures faced by the people.
On Tuesday, Perikatan Nasional PN chairperson Muhyiddin Yassin was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini that ministers from his coalition have been told to disagree with the polls being held this year while they attend Cabinet meetings. Together with Barisan Nasional, PN is a part of the ruling coalition.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department has warned of floods during the north-east monsoon season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is facing 47 charges of criminal breach of trust, corruption, and money laundering, has been very vocal in pushing for snap polls, ostensibly to get a new mandate from the people.
He has criticised the opposition for using the flood and inflation narrative to resist an early general election, labelling the flood narrative as a myth.