The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) has backed former deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri as its candidate to become Malaysia’s next prime minister.

Opposition parties are attempting to build support for their preferred candidate before the deadline of submitting the name of an elected leader.

The current monarch, King Al-Sultan Abdullah has decreed that the next prime minister’s majority be tested in parliament,

Ismail Sabri, 61, was the deputy prime minister and defence minister in the administration of Muhyiddin Yassin who resigned on Monday amid political infighting and public anger over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Opposition parties, meanwhile, are choosing between Anwar Ibrahim and Shafie, the former chief minister of the Borneo state of Sabah.

“By the look of it, all the parties seem to have come to a consensus — that is to end ‘old politics’… and focus on the development of the country,” King Al-Sultan Abdullah was quoted as saying.

The country’s 222 members of parliament have until 4pm (08:00 GMT) to notify the king of their choice. It is not clear whether there will be a vote of confidence in parliament to confirm whoever is chosen as the new prime minister.

The story was filed by the News Desk. The Desk can be reached at


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