Prime Minister of Malaysia

The prime minister of Malaysia (Malay: Perdana Menteri Malaysia; Jawi: ڤردان منتري مليسيا‎) is the head of government of Malaysia. The prime minister directs the executive branch of the federal government. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appoints as the prime minister a member of Parliament (MP) who, in his opinion, is most likely to command the confidence of a majority of MPs; this person is usually the leader of the party winning the most seats in a general election.

Prime Minister of Malaysia
Perdana Menteri Malaysia
ڤردان منتري مليسيا
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
Office-of-Prime-Minister-Of-Malaysia.png
Official emblem of the Office of the Prime Minister
DSISY March 2021.jpg
Incumbent
Ismail Sabri Yaakob

since 21 August 2021
Government of Malaysia
Prime Minister's Department
StyleYang Amat Berhormat
(The Right Honourable)
unless otherwise specified
StatusHead of Government
Member ofCabinet
National Finance Council
National Security Council
House of Representatives
Reports toParliament
ResidenceSeri Perdana, Putrajaya
SeatPerdana Putra, Putrajaya
AppointerYang di-Pertuan Agong
Term length5 years or less, renewable (while commanding the confidence of the lower house of Parliament with General Elections held no more than five years apart)
Constituting instrumentFederal Constitution of Malaysia
Inaugural holderTunku Abdul Rahman
Formation31 August 1957; 64 years ago (1957-08-31)
SalaryMYR 22,826.65 per month[1]
Websitewww.pmo.gov.my

After the formation of Malaysia on 16 September 1963, Tunku Abdul Rahman, the chief minister of the Federation of Malaya, became the first prime minister of Malaysia.

AppointmentEdit

 
The prime minister’s office at Perdana Putra, Putrajaya

According to the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint a prime minister to preside over the Cabinet. The prime minister is to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives), and who in his majesty's judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House. This person must be a Malaysian citizen, but cannot have obtained their citizenship by means of naturalisation or registration. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint other ministers from either the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara (Senate) with the prime minister's advice.

The prime minister and his cabinet ministers must take and subscribe to the oath of office and allegiance as well as the oath of secrecy in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong before they can exercise functions of office. The Cabinet is collectively accountable to the Parliament of Malaysia. The members of the Cabinet shall not hold any office of profit and engage in any trade, business or profession that will cause a conflict of interest. The Prime Minister's Department (sometimes referred to as the Prime Minister's Office) is the body and ministry in which the prime minister exercises his/her functions and powers.

In the case where a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the House of Representatives, or when the House passes a vote of "no confidence" in the government, the prime minister is bound by convention to resign immediately. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong's choice of replacement prime minister will be dictated by the circumstances. All other ministers shall continue to hold office by the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unless if the appointment of any minister is revoked by his majesty upon the advice of the prime minister. Any minister may resign his office.

Following a resignation in other circumstances, defeat in an election, or the death of a prime minister, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong would generally appoint as the new leader of the governing party or coalition as new Prime Minister.

PowersEdit

The power of the prime minister is subject to a number of limitations. Prime ministers removed as leader of his or her party, or whose government loses a vote of no confidence in the House of Representatives, must advise a new election of the lower house or resign the office. The defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) or unable to pass important policy-related legislation is seen to require the resignation of the government or dissolution of Parliament, much like a non-confidence vote, since a government that cannot spend money is hamstrung, also called loss of supply.

The prime minister's party will normally have a majority in the House of Representatives and party discipline is exceptionally strong in Malaysian politics, so passage of the government's legislation through the House of Representatives is mostly a formality.

Under the Constitution, the prime minister’s role includes advising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on:

  • the appointment of the federal ministers (full members of cabinet);
  • the appointment of the federal deputy ministers, parliamentary secretaries (non-full members of cabinet);
  • the appointment of 44 out of 70 Senators in the Dewan Negara;
  • the summoning and adjournment of sittings of the Dewan Rakyat;
  • the appointment of judges of the superior courts (which are the High Courts, the Court of Appeal, and the Federal Court);
  • the appointment of the attorney-general and the auditor-general; and
  • the appointment of the chairmen and members of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, Election Commission, Police Force Commission, Education Service Commission, National Finance Council, and Armed Forces Council;

Under Article 39 of the Constitution, executive authority is vested in the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. However, Article 40(1) states that in most cases, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong is bound to exercise his powers on the advice of the Cabinet or a minister acting under the Cabinet's general authority. Thus, most of the day-to-day work of governing is actually done by the prime minister and the Cabinet.

Acting prime ministerEdit

From time to time, prime ministers are required to leave the country on business and a deputy is appointed to take their place during that time. In the days before jet aeroplanes, such absences could be for extended periods. However, the position can be fully decided by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the King of Malaysia when the position remains empty following the sudden resignation or death of the prime minister.

Caretaker prime ministerEdit

Under Article 55(3) of Constitution of Malaysia, the lower house of Parliament, unless sooner dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with his own discretion on the advice of the prime minister, shall continue for five years from the date of its first meeting. Article 55(4) of the Constitution permits a delay of 60 days of general election to be held from the date of dissolution and Parliament shall be summoned to meet on a date not later than 120 days from the date of dissolution. Conventionally, between the dissolution of one Parliament and the convening of the next, the prime minister and the cabinet remain in office in a caretaker capacity.

Interim prime ministerEdit

Interim prime minister was created by the King of Malaysia before the appointment of the new prime minister during the 2020 Malaysian political crisis. However, caretaker prime minister is mentioned as the cabinet tendered resignation to the King of Malaysia until a new prime minister is appointed.

List of prime ministers of MalaysiaEdit

Colour key (for political coalitions/parties):
  Alliance Party   Barisan Nasional   Pakatan Harapan   Perikatan Nasional

Portrait Name

(Birth–Death)
Federal Constituency

Term of Office Coalition / Party Duration
  Tunku Abdul Rahman
تونكو عبدالرحمن

(1903–1990)
MLC for Sungei Muda, 1955–1959
MP for Kuala Kedah, 1959–1973

31 August 1957[note 1] 22 September 1970 Alliance Party (UMNO) 13 years, 22 days[note 2]
1955, 1959, 1964, 1969
First Malayan Five-Year Plan; Malayan Emergency; Second Malayan Five-Year Plan; National Education Policy; Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation; Malaysia Agreement; PAP–UMNO relations; Independence of Singapore Agreement 1965; 1966 Sarawak Emergency; First Malaysia Plan; Association of Southeast Asian Nations; Organisation of Islamic Cooperation; 13 May Incident. Served as Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of External Affairs, Minister of Information and Broadcasting and Minister of Youth, Culture and Sports. He is often referred to as Father of Independence (Bapa Kemerdekaan) and Father of Malaysia (Bapa Malaysia).
  Abdul Razak Hussein
عبدالرزاق حسين

(1922–1976)
MLC for Semantan, 1955–1959
MP for Pekan, 1959–1976

(Died in office)

22 September 1970 14 January 1976 Alliance Party (UMNO) 5 years, 114 days
Barisan Nasional (UMNO)
1974
Razak Report; National Operations Council; 1971 constitutional amendments; Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality; National Culture Policy; National Energy Policy; National Petroleum Policy; Second Malaysia Plan; Malaysian New Economic Policy. Served as Menteri Besar of Pahang, Minister of Education, Minister of Defence, Minister of Rural Development, Minister of National and Rural Development, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. He is the youngest Prime Minister of Malaysia to be elected at the age of 48. He is referred to as Father of Development (Bapa Pembangunan).
  Hussein Onn
حسين عون‎

(1922–1990)
MP for Johore Bahru Timor, 1971–1974
MP for Sri Gading, 1974–1981

15 January 1976 16 July 1981 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 5 years, 182 days
1978
Third Malaysia Plan; 1977 Kelantan Emergency; Malaysian Technical Corporation Plan; Fourth Malaysia Plan. Served as Minister of Education, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Finance, Minister of Coordination of Public Corporations, Minister of Defence, Minister of Federal Territories and Deputy Prime Minister. He is referred to as Father of Unity (Bapa Perpaduan).
  Mahathir Mohamad
محضير محمد‎

(b. 1925)
MP for Kota Star Selatan, 1964–1969
MP for Kubang Pasu, 1974–2004

16 July 1981 30 October 2003 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 22 years, 106 days
1982, 1986, 1990, 1995, 1999
Clean, Fair and Trustworthy; Look East Policy; Privatisation Policy; Malaysia Incorporated Policy; Buy British Last; Leadership by Example; 70 Million Population Policy; Heavy Industry Policy; Application of Islamic Values Policy; 1983 constitutional amendments; Fifth Malaysia Plan; 1986 Sabah Emergency; Operation Lalang; 1988 constitutional amendments; Vision 2020; Sixth Malaysia Plan; 1993 constitutional amendments; Seventh Malaysia Plan; Eighth Malaysia Plan. Served as Minister of Education, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. He is referred to as Father of Modernisation (Bapa Pemodenan).
  Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
عبدالله احمد بداوي‎

(b. 1939)
MP for Kepala Batas, 1978–2013

31 October 2003 3 April 2009 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 5 years, 154 days
2004, 2008
Ninth Malaysia Plan. Served as Minister without Portfolio, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Minister of Education, Minister of Defence, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance, Minister of Internal Security and Deputy Prime Minister. He is referred to as Father of Human Capital Development (Bapa Pembangunan Modal Insan).
  Mohd Najib Abdul Razak
محمد نجيب عبدالرزاق‎

(b. 1953)
MP for Pekan, 1976–1982, since 1986

3 April 2009 9 May 2018 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 9 years, 36 days
2013
1Malaysia; New Economic Model; Tenth Malaysia Plan; 2014 GST Act; Eleventh Malaysia Plan; Transformasi Nasional 2050; 1MDB. Served as Menteri Besar of Pahang, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Defence, Minister of Education, Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. He is referred to as Father of Transformation (Bapa Transformasi).
  Mahathir Mohamad
محضير محمد‎

(b. 1925)
MP for Langkawi, since 2018

10 May 2018 24 February 2020 Pakatan Harapan (PPBM) 1 year, 290 days
2018
GST abolition; Vote 18; Shared Prosperity Vision 2030; 2019 Sabah and Sarawak's proposed constitution amendments; COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia; 2020 Malaysian political crisis. Served as Minister of Education, Minister of Trade and Industry, Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs, Minister of Finance, Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister. This is his second appointment as Prime Minister.[note 3] He is the only person to hold the position for two opposing political parties.[note 4] He is the oldest Prime Minister of Malaysia to be elected at the age of 92.
  Muhyiddin Yassin
محي الدين ياسين‎

(b. 1947)
MP for Pagoh, 1978–1986, since 1995

1 March 2020 16 August 2021 Perikatan Nasional (PPBM) 1 year, 168 days
COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia; 2020–21 Malaysian political crisis; 2020–21 Malaysian movement control order; 2021 Malaysia Emergency. Served as Menteri Besar of Johor, Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumerism, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, Minister of International Trade and Industry, Minister of Education, Minister of Home Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. He is the shortest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia.
  Ismail Sabri Yaakob
إسماعيل صبري يعقوب

(b. 1960)
MP for Bera, since 2004

21 August 2021 Incumbent Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 63 days
COVID-19 pandemic in Malaysia; 2020–21 Malaysian political crisis; 2020–21 Malaysian movement control order; Keluarga Malaysia; Twelfth Malaysia Plan. Served as Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Minister of Defence, Senior Minister (Security) and Deputy Prime Minister. He is the first Prime Minister of Malaysia born after the independence of Malaya in 1957.

TimelineEdit

Ismail Sabri YaakobMuhyiddin YassinNajib RazakAbdullah Ahmad BadawiMahathir MohamadMahathir MohamadHussein OnnAbdul Razak HusseinTunku Abdul Rahman

List of acting prime ministers of MalaysiaEdit

Colour key (for political parties):

  Alliance Party   Barisan Nasional

Portrait Name

(Birth–Death)

Term of office Notes Political Party
  Abdul Razak Hussein
(1922–1976)
19 August 1959 19 November 1959 Abdul Razak Hussein was the acting prime minister after the first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, stepped down as prime minister for three months in 1959 to strengthen his party, the Alliance for the 1959 federal elections after it had lost two states, Kelantan and Terengganu, in the state elections which at that time were held before the federal contest. Alliance Party
(UMNO)
  Ismail Abdul Rahman
(1915–1973)
22 September 1970 22 September 1970 Ismail Abdul Rahman occasionally acted as acting prime minister when Tunku Abdul Rahman and Abdul Razak Hussein were on leave for going abroad.
  V. T. Sambanthan
(1919–1979)
3 August 1973 13 August 1973 V. T. Sambanthan was called to serve as acting prime minister and chair the cabinet meeting for a day when the former prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein was overseas and his deputy Ismail Abdul Rahman had died. Alliance Party
(MIC)
Ling Liong Sik
(b. 1943)
4 February 1988 16 February 1988 In 1988, when UMNO as the founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition was declared unlawful and illegal political party, Mahathir Mohamad was disqualified as the Barisan Nasional chairman. Ling Liong Sik became the new chairman of the Barisan Nasional and served as an acting prime minister for a couple of days until the new party, UMNO Baru, was legalised by the Registrar of Societies (ROS). Barisan Nasional
(MCA)
  Anwar Ibrahim
(b. 1947)
19 May 1997 19 July 1997 Anwar Ibrahim acted as an acting prime minister for two months started from 19 May 1997 as Mahathir Mohamad was on vacation. Barisan Nasional
(UMNO)

List of interim or caretaker prime ministers of MalaysiaEdit

Colour key (for political parties):

  Pakatan Harapan   Perikatan Nasional

Portrait Name

(Birth–Death)

Term of office Notes Political Party
  Mahathir Mohamad
(b. 1925)
24 February 2020 1 March 2020 During the 2020 Malaysian political crisis, Mahathir Mohamad had been appointed as the interim prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong following the abrupt resignation of he himself as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia since he won the 14th General Election massively in 2018 while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong decided the appointment of Muhyiddin Yassin as the new 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia few days later. This position does not exist in any part of the laws of Malaysia. However, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong created this position to handle the situation during the crisis, based on his powers provided by the Federal Constitution.[2] Pakatan Harapan
(PPBM)
  Muhyiddin Yassin
(b. 1947)
16 August 2021 21 August 2021 The Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointed him as the caretaker prime minister on 16 August 2021 based on his powers provided by the Federal Constitution. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong then decided to appoint Ismail Sabri as the 9th Prime Minister of Malaysia four days later. This position does not exist in any part of the laws of Malaysia. However, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong created this position to handle the situation during the crisis, based on his powers provided by the Federal Constitution.[3] Perikatan Nasional
(PPBM)

Living former prime ministersEdit

Prime ministers are usually granted certain privileges after leaving office at government expense. Former prime ministers continue to be important national figures.

The most recently deceased prime minister was Tunku Abdul Rahman (1903–1990), who died on 6 December 1990.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

  1. ^ He served as the Prime Minister of Malaya from 31 August 1957 until 16 September 1963.
  2. ^ 6 years, 16 days as the Prime Minister of Malaya from 31 August 1957 until 16 September 1963.
  3. ^ His second appointment as prime minister happened 15 years after his retirement from politics as he was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 and referred as Father of Modernisation (Bapa Pemodenan).
  4. ^ BNUMNO (1981–2003) and PHPPBM (2018–2020).

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "CPPS Policy Factsheet: Remuneration of Elected Officials in Malaysia" (PDF). Centre for Public Policy Studies. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 May 2016. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  2. ^ Yusof, Dr Muhammad Fathi (25 February 2020). "Kuasa Perdana Menteri Interim ditentukan Agong". BH Online (in Malay). Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Istana: Muhyiddin to serve as caretaker PM pending search for successor". Malaysiakini. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.