Prime Minister of Malaysia

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Prime Minister of Malaysia
Perdana Menteri Malaysia
Najib Razak 2008-08-21.jpg
Najib Razak

since 3 April 2009
Government of Malaysia
Prime Minister's Department
Style Yang Amat Berhormat (The Most Honourable)
Member of Cabinet
Reports to Parliament
Residence Seri Perdana
Seat Central Main Block of Perdana Putra, Putrajaya
Appointer Yang di-Pertuan Agong
Term length While commanding the confidence of the lower house of Parliament
With General Elections held no more than five years apart
Constituting instrument Federal Constitution of Malaysia
Inaugural holder Tunku Abdul Rahman
Formation 31 August 1957; 58 years ago (1957-08-31)
Deputy Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
Salary MYR 22,826.65 [1]
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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The Prime Minister of Malaysia (Malay: Perdana Menteri Malaysia) is the head of government in Malaysia. It is in practice, the most powerful political position in Malaysia. According to convention, the Prime Minister is the leader of the majority party or largest coalition party of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives).

The Prime Minister has always been from the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) part of Barisan Nasional (previously Alliance) since independence. Tunku Abdul Rahman was the Chief Minister of the Federation of Malaya, restyled to Prime Minister of Malaysia in 16 September 1963 after the formation of Malaysia. Federation of Malaya became independent on 31 August 1957.[2]

The 6th and current prime minister is Najib Razak, who took office on 3 April 2009.


According to the federal constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall first appoint as Prime Minister to preside over the Cabinet and requires such Prime Minister to be a member of the Dewan Rakyat (House of Representatives) who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of that House and must not a Malaysian citizen by naturalization or by registration. The Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the Prime Minister's advice shall appoint other Ministers from either Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara.

The Prime Minister and his cabinet ministers must take and subscribe in the presence of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong the oath of office and allegiance as well as the oath of secrecy before they can exercise the functions of office. The Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to 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 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 its functions and powers.

If a government cannot get its appropriation (budget) legislation passed by the House of Representatives, or 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. Ministers other than the Prime Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, unless the appointment of any Minister shall have been revoked by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister but any Minister may resign his office.

Following a resignation in other circumstances, defeated in an election or the death of a prime minister, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will generally appoint as Prime Minister the person voted by the governing party as their new leader.


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 an election of the lower house or resign the office or be dismissed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The defeat of a supply bill (one that concerns the spending of money) 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.

Caretaker Prime Minister[edit]

Under Article 55(3) of Constitution of Malaysia, the lower house of Parliament unless sooner dissolved by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong with HM's 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.

Acting Prime Minister[edit]

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 airplanes, such absences could be for extended periods.

  • 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 in order 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.
  • 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).

List of Prime Ministers of Malaysia[edit]

Colour key
(for political parties)
Prime Minister Term of Office Political Party Cabinet General
Portrait Name
Took Office Left Office Days
1 Tunku abd rahman.jpg Tunku Abdul Rahman
MLC for Sungei Muda, 1955–1959
MP for Kuala Kedah, 1959–1973
31 August 1957 19 August 1959 4770 Alliance Party (UMNO) 1. Rahman I
19 August 1959 21 March 1964 2. Rahman II
(Reshuffle 1 · 2)
21 March 1964 10 May 1969 3. Rahman III
10 May 1959 22 September 1970 4. Rahman IV 1969
The first Prime Minister of Malaysia. The formation of Malaysia was one of Abdul Rahman's greatest achievements. He is often referred to as Father of Independence (Bapa Kemerdekaan) and Father of Malaysia (Bapa Malaysia)
2 Tun Abdul Razak (MY 2nd PM).jpg Abdul Razak Hussein
MLC for Semantan, 1955–1959
MP for Pekan, 1959–1976
22 September 1970 24 August 1974 1940 Alliance Party (UMNO) 5. Razak I
(2) 24 August 1974 14 January 1976 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 6. Razak II
The second Prime Minister of Malaysia. The youngest to be elected in the office, at the age of 48. He is referred to as Father of Development (Bapa Pembangunan)
3 Tun Hussein Onn (MY 3rd PM).jpg Hussein Onn
MP for Johore Bahru Timor, 1971–1974
MP for Sri Gading, 1974–1981
14 January 1976 8 July 1978 2010 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 7. Hussein I
8 July 1978 16 July 1981 8. Hussein II
The third Prime Minister of Malaysia. He is referred to as Father of Unity (Bapa Perpaduan)
4 Mahathir Mohamad 2007.jpg Mahathir Mohamad
MP for Kubang Pasu Barat, 1964–1969
MP for Kubang Pasu, 1974–2004
16 July 1981 22 April 1982 8142 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 9. Mahathir I
22 April 1982 3 August 1986 10. Mahathir II
3 August 1986 21 October 1990 11. Mahathir III
21 October 1990 25 April 1995 12. Mahathir IV
25 April 1995 29 November 1999 13. Mahathir V
29 November 1999 31 October 2003 14. Mahathir VI
The fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. He led the BN into 5 consecutive election victories. He is referred to as Father of Modernisation (Bapa Pemodenan)
5 AB April 2008.jpg Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
MP for Kepala Batas, 1978–2013
31 October 2003 21 March 2004 1981 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 15. Abdullah I
21 March 2004 8 March 2008 16. Abdullah II
8 March 2008 3 April 2009 17. Abdullah III
The fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia. The oldest to be elected in the office, at the age of 64. He is referred to as Father of Human Capital Development (Bapa Pembangunan Modal Insan)
6 Najib Razak 2008-08-21.jpg Najib Razak
MP for Pekan, 1976–1982,
since 1986
3 April 2009 6 May 2013 2345 Barisan Nasional (UMNO) 18. Najib I
6 May 2013 Incumbent 19. Najib II
(Reshuffle 1 · 2)
The sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia. Prior to his appointment as PM, he served as Deputy Prime Minister (2004–2009), Minister of Defence, Minister of Education, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports. He is referred to as Father of Transformation (Bapa Transformasi)

Living former Prime Ministers[edit]

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

Name Term of office Date of birth
Mahathir Mohamad 1981–2003 10 July 1925 (age 90)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 2003–2009 26 November 1939 (age 75)

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PM gets salary of RM22,800 a month". 
  2. ^ The UK Statute Law Database: Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957 (c. 60)
  3. ^ "Tokoh Negara". Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  4. ^ "We should not forget Sambanthan’s contributions - Opinion | The Star Online". Retrieved 7 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Kronologi membawa kepada pelucutan semua jawatan. Retrieved on 27 September 2013.[unreliable source?]