Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was granted an audience with King Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at the national palace on Thursday (Oct 6). 

His official car arrived at the palace gate at around 4pm. He departed at around 4.45pm.

In a statement released on Thursday evening, Istana Negara said that the king had met with the prime minister for a pre-Cabinet briefing.

It said that the briefing was part of the king’s weekly routine meeting to discuss and exchange views with the prime minister regarding matters related to the government.

There has been intense speculation of a dissolution of parliament to pave the way for the 15th general election (GE15).

Malaysia’s 2023 budget is scheduled to be tabled at parliament on Friday afternoon. The prime minister was earlier at the Finance Ministry in Putrajaya to inspect the budget preparations. 

Earlier on Thursday, state news agency Bernama quoted Mr Ismail Sabri as saying that he will propose a date for parliament dissolution to the king if he has the opportunity during his audience with the monarch. 

He told reporters on Tuesday that his audience with the king would be an ordinary pre-Cabinet briefing. Mr Ismail Sabri added that the decision on when to dissolve parliament is his prerogative. 

Last Friday, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) supreme council decided that parliament must be dissolved soon so that GE15 can be held this year, even though the five-year mandate of the current government will only expire in July 2023.

UMNO president 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 seek a fresh mandate from the people.

UMNO’s call for an early GE15 has been criticised by the opposition and Mr Ismail Sabri’s own Cabinet members as Malaysia’s Meteorological Department has warned of floods during the north-east monsoon season, which typically starts in November and ends in March.

Malaysian media reported that the king visited the National Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre of the Department of the Irrigation and Drainage in Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday morning.

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