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
Emblem of the Prime Minister's Office
Anwar Ibrahim
since 24 November 2022
Government of Malaysia
Prime Minister's Department
StylePrime Minister
Yang Amat Berhormat
The Right Honourable
(within the Commonwealth)
His Excellency
Member of
Reports toParliament
ResidenceSeri Perdana, Putrajaya
SeatPerdana Putra, Putrajaya
AppointerYang di-Pertuan Agong
Term lengthFive years, renewable
Constituting instrumentConstitution of Malaysia
Inaugural holderTunku Abdul Rahman
Formation31 August 1957 (1957-08-31)

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.


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.

Malaysia uses first-past-the-post-voting system, which means a party or coalition who gets 112 seats in lower house will lead the government.[2]


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 minister

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 minister

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 minister

The office of interim prime minister was created by the king 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 until a new prime minister is appointed.

List of prime ministers of Malaysia

Colour key (for political coalitions/parties):
  Alliance Party (2)   Barisan Nasional (6)   Pakatan Harapan (2)   Perikatan Nasional (1)

No Portrait Title
Prime Minister
Federal constituency represented
(Reason for leaving office)
Term of office & mandate[lower-alpha 1]
Duration in years and days
Deputy Prime Minister
(Term in office)
(Party)[lower-alpha 2]
Government Parliament Monarch
1 His Highness
Tunku Abdul Rahman

تونکو عبد الرحمن
MLC for Sungei Muda, 1955–1959
MP for Kuala Kedah, 1959–1973

31 August
22 September
1955 Abdul Razak Hussein

(31 August 1957–22 September 1970)
1st Cabinet
Rahman I
Abdul Rahman

1959 2nd Cabinet
Rahman II


1964 3rd Cabinet
Rahman III
Ismail Nasiruddin

1969 4th Cabinet
Rahman IV
13 years and 23 days YdPA V
Abdul Halim

2 Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Haji
Abdul Razak Hussein

عبد الرزاق حسين
MLC for Semantan, 1955–1959
MP for Pekan, 1959–1976

(Died in office)
22 September
14 January
1974 Ismail Abdul Rahman

(22 September 1970–2 August 1973)
(Died in office)
5th Cabinet
Razak I
Barisan Nasional
Position vacant
(2–13 August 1973)
Hussein Onn

(13 August 1973–15 January 1976)
6th Cabinet
Razak II
5 years and 115 days YdPA VI
Yahya Petra

3 Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun
Hussein Onn

حسين عون
MP for Johore Bahru Timor, 1971–1974
MP for Sri Gading, 1974–1981

15 January
16 July
1978 Position vacant
(15 January–5 March 1976)
Barisan Nasional
7th Cabinet
Hussein I
Mahathir Mohammad

(5 March 1976–16 July 1981)
8th Cabinet
Hussein II
Ahmad Shah

5 years and 184 days
4 Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr.
Mahathir Mohamad

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

16 July
30 October
1982 Position vacant
(16–18 July 1981)
Barisan Nasional
9th Cabinet
Mahathir I
Musa Hitam

(18 July 1981–16 March 1986)
10th Cabinet
Mahathir II

1986 Position vacant
(16 March–10 May 1986)
11th Cabinet
Mahathir III
Abdul Ghafar Baba

(10 May 1986–15 October 1993)
Azlan Shah

1990 12th Cabinet
Mahathir IV
Position vacant
(15 October–1 December 1993)
Anwar Ibrahim

(1 December 1993–2 September 1998)

1995 13th Cabinet
Mahathir V
Position vacant
(2 September 1998–8 January 1999)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

(8 January 1999–31 October 2003)
14th Cabinet
Mahathir VI

1999 YdPA XII

22 years and 107 days
5 Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

عبد الله احمد بدوي
(b. 1939)
MP for Kepala Batas, 1978–2013

31 October
3 April
2004 Position vacant
(31 October 2003–7 January 2004)
Barisan Nasional
15th Cabinet
Abdullah I
Najib Razak

(7 January 2004–3 April 2009)
16th Cabinet
Abdullah II
Mizan Zainal Abidin

2008 17th Cabinet
Abdullah III
5 years and 155 days
6 Yang Hormat Dato' Sri Haji
Najib Razak

نجيب رزاق
(b. 1953)
MP for Pekan, 1976–1982, 1986–2022

(Lost reelection)
3 April
9 May
2013 Position vacant
(3–10 April 2009)
Barisan Nasional
18th Cabinet
Najib I
Muhyiddin Yassin

(10 April 2009–29 July 2015)
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

(29 July 2015–10 May 2018)
Abdul Halim

19th Cabinet
Najib II
Muhammad V

9 years and 37 days
7 (4) Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr.
Mahathir Mohamad

محاضير محمد
(b. 1925)
MP for Langkawi, 2018–2022

10 May
24 February
2018 Position vacant
(10–21 May 2018)
Pakatan Harapan
20th Cabinet
Mahathir VII
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

(21 May 2018–24 February 2020)
1 year and 291 days YdPA XVI

(since 2019)
During this interval, the incumbent Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad was the Interim Prime Minister. (24 February1 March 2020)
8 Yang Berhormat Tan Sri Dato' Haji
Muhyiddin Yassin

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

1 March
16 August
Position vacant
(1 March 2020–7 July 2021)
Perikatan Nasional
21st Cabinet
Ismail Sabri Yaakob

(7 July–16 August 2021)
1 year and 169 days
During this interval, the incumbent Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin was the Caretaker Prime Minister. (1621 August 2021)
9 Yang Berhormat Dato' Sri
Ismail Sabri Yaakob

اسماعيل صبري يعقوب
(b. 1960)
MP for Bera, since 2004

(Lost reelection)
21 August
24 November
Position vacant
(21 August 2021–3 December 2022)
Barisan Nasional
22nd Cabinet
Ismail Sabri
1 year and 96 days
10 Yang Amat Berhormat Dato' Seri
Anwar Ibrahim

انور ابراهيم‎
(b. 1947)
MP for Permatang Pauh, 1982–1999, 2008–2015
MP for Port Dickson, 2018–2022
MP for Tambun, since 2022

24 November
Incumbent (2022) Pakatan Harapan
23rd Cabinet
(since 2022)
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Fadillah Yusof

(since 3 December 2022)
70 days


Anwar IbrahimIsmail Sabri YaakobMuhyiddin YassinMahathir MohamadMohd Najib Abdul RazakAbdullah Ahmad BadawiMahathir MohamadHussein OnnAbdul Razak HusseinTunku Abdul Rahman


  1. Legend for mandate portion of column:
    a year
    indicates a general election won by the government or that led to the formation of a government (the year links to the election's article);
    a parenthesised year
    indicates an election resulting in no single party or coalition winning a parliamentary majority (the year links to the election's article);
    a dash
    indicates the formation of a majority government without an election.
  2. This column names only the Prime Minister's party. The government may be a complex coalition of several parties and independents; those are not listed here.

List of acting prime ministers of Malaysia

Colour key (for political parties):

  Alliance Party   Barisan Nasional

Portrait Name


Term of office Notes Political Party
Abdul Razak Hussein
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
Ismail Abdul Rahman
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
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
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
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

List of interim or caretaker prime ministers of Malaysia

Colour key (for political parties):

  Pakatan Harapan   Perikatan Nasional   Barisan Nasional

Portrait Name


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.[3] Pakatan Harapan
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 five 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.[4] Perikatan Nasional

See also



    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. "Malaysia Gelar Pemilu Hari Ini". CNN Indonesia (in Indonesian). 19 November 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
    3. Yusof, Dr Muhammad Fathi (25 February 2020). "Kuasa Perdana Menteri Interim ditentukan Agong". BH Online (in Malay). Retrieved 15 April 2020.
    4. "Istana: Muhyiddin to serve as caretaker PM pending search for successor". Malaysiakini. 16 August 2021. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
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