A political crisis was developing in Malaysia on Sunday after royalty in one of the country's states appointed a new chief minister in defiance of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's wishes.
Terengganu is the only state that has yet to install a government head 14 days after elections in which Abdullah's United Malays National Organisation (UMNO)-led ruling coalition suffered its worst ever results.
Abdullah's weakened Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition retained control of the northern state's assembly but his nominee for chief minister, incumbent Idris Jusoh, was unacceptable to the palace, who appointed UMNO assemblyman Ahmad Said instead.
"Ahmad Said has been appointed as the new chief minister and we are in the midst of stripping him of UMNO membership because he has defied the wishes of the party and president," UMNO state liaison secretary Rosol Wahid told AFP.
"We have already submitted a memorandum to the palace indicating that 22 out of the 24 BN state assemblymen support Idris Jusoh as chief minister," he said.
Rosol said members of the assembly were also planning a no-confidence motion against Ahmad.
The Sultan of Terengganu is at present the Malaysian King and has by law delegated his powers to his son who is only eight years old and so co-reigns with a three-member Regency Advisory Council.
Ahmad received his appointment letter from the Council early Sunday morning and is scheduled to be sworn in on Wednesday, according to palace officials.
Analysts say the clash between the Terengganu palace and Abdullah's government is symptomatic of the prime minister's weakened position after the large poll losses.
"Abdullah was already weak to begin with and the crisis in Terengganu it just shows how much more worse off his position is," Tricia Yeo, who heads the centre for public policy studies, told AFP.
"It shows the rampant infighting within the party that is now preventing the government from getting down to rule the country," she added.
"It is definitely a low point for UMNO."
source: AFP via MSN News - http://news.my.msn.com/regional/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1303810