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Prime Minister of Malaysia

Prime Minister of Malaysia
Perdana Menteri Malaysia
ڤردان منتري مليسيا
Coat of arms of Malaysia.svg
Emblem of the Prime Minister's Office
Anwar Ibrahim (cropped 1).jpg
Anwar bin Ibrahim

since 24 November 2022
Government of Malaysia
Prime Minister's Department
StyleMr Prime Minister
Yang Amat Berhormat
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; 65 years ago (1957-08-31)

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.

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.


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

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 Malaysia

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

Portrait Title
Prime Minister
Term of office & mandate
Duration in years and days
Deputy Prime Minister
(Term in office)
Government Parliament Monarch
Tunku Abdul Rahman 1960.jpg His Highness
Tunku Abdul Rahman

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

31 August
22 September
1955 Abdul Razak Hussein
Walter Nash & Abdul Razak Hussein in Kuala Lumpur, 1960 (cropped).jpg
(31 August 1957–22 September 1970)
1st Cabinet
Rahman I
Abdul Rahman
HRH Tuanku Abdul Rahman Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Muhammad. The Tuanku Ja'afar Royal Gallery, Seremban.jpg
1959 2nd Cabinet
Rahman II
Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah (cropped).jpg
CO 1069-504-18 (7893276430).jpg
1964 3rd Cabinet
Rahman III
Ismail Nasiruddin
YDP Agong 4.jpg
1969 4th Cabinet
Rahman IV
13 years and 23 days YdPA V
Abdul Halim
Tunku Abdul Halim and Tunku Bahiyah in henna ceremony (cropped).jpg
Ministers, ontvangsten, buitenlandse betrekkingen, Luns, JAMH, Razak Tun Abd, Bestanddeelnr 083-0834 (cropped).jpg The Most Felicitous Tun Haji
Abdul Razak Hussein

عبدالرزاق حسين
MLC for Semantan, 1955–1959
MP for Pekan, 1959–1976

(died in office)
22 September
14 January
1974 Ismail Abdul Rahman
Ismail Abdul Rahman.jpeg
(22 September 1970–2 August 1973)
(Died in office)
5th Cabinet
Razak I
Barisan Nasional
Position vacant
(2–13 August 1973)
Hussein Onn
Tun Hussein Onn potrait (cropped-1-closeup).jpg
(13 August 1973–15 January 1976)
6th Cabinet
Razak II
5 years and 115 days YdPA VI
Yahya Petra

Tun Hussein Onn potrait (cropped-1-closeup).jpg The Most Felicitous 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
Mahathir 1984 (cropped).jpg
(5 March 1976–16 July 1981)
8th Cabinet
Hussein II
Ahmad Shah

5 years and 184 days
Mahathir 1984 (cropped).jpg The Most Felicitous Tun Dr.
Mahathir Mohamad

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

16 July
30 October
1982 Musa Hitam
(18 July 1981–16 March 1986)
Barisan Nasional
9th Cabinet
Mahathir I
10th Cabinet
Mahathir II
SI Potret 0001.jpg
1986 Position vacant
(16 March–10 May 1986)
11th Cabinet
Mahathir III
Abdul Ghafar Baba
Ghafar Baba.jpg
(10 May 1986–15 October 1993)
Azlan Shah
SultanAzlanShah (cropped).JPG
1990 12th Cabinet
Mahathir IV
Position vacant
(15 October–1 December 1993)
Anwar Ibrahim
Anwar 980416.jpg
(1 December 1993–2 September 1998)
HRH Tuanku Ja'afar Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.jpg
1995 13th Cabinet
Mahathir V
Position vacant
(2 September 1998–8 January 1999)
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi
The Prime Minister of Malaysia Mr. Dato Seri Abdullah Haji Ahmed (cropped).jpg
(8 January 1999–31 October 2003)
14th Cabinet
Mahathir VI
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo walks with His Majesty, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia cropped.jpg
1999 YdPA XII
Sirajuddin of Perlis in 2018.jpg
22 years and 107 days
01 Badawi in Maldives (cropped).jpg The Most Felicitous Tun
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi

عبدﷲ أحمد 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
Najib crop.jpg
(7 January 2004–3 April 2009)
16th Cabinet
Abdullah II
Mizan Zainal Abidin
Tuanku Mizan 2011.jpg
2008 17th Cabinet
Abdullah III
5 years and 155 days
Najib Razak 2008-08-21.jpg The Respected Dato' Sri Haji
Mohd Najib Abdul Razak

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

(Lost reelection)
3 April
9 May
2013 Muhyiddin Yassin
MuhyiddinUS (cropped-1).jpg
(10 April 2009–29 July 2015)
Barisan Nasional
18th Cabinet
Najib I
Ahmad Zahid Hamidi
Deputy Prime Minister Hamidi - 2017 (36294565072) (cropped) (cropped).jpg
(29 July 2015–10 May 2018)
Abdul Halim
Abdul Halim of Kedah (cropped).jpg
19th Cabinet
Najib II
Muhammad V
Sultan Muhammad V 2017.jpg
9 years and 37 days
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (9to12).jpg The Most Felicitous 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
Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, 2019.jpg
(21 May 2018–24 February 2020)
1 year and 291 days YdPA XVI
King Abdullah of Pahang at the Enthronement of Naruhito (1).jpg
(since 2019)
During this interval, the incumbent Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad was the Interim Prime Minister. (24 February–1 March 2020)
Muhyiddin Yassin (51087589446) (cropped).jpg The Honourable Tan Sri Dato' Haji
Muhyiddin Yassin

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

1 March
16 August
Position vacant
(24 February 2020–7 July 2021)
Perikatan Nasional
21st Cabinet
Ismail Sabri Yaakob
Ismail Sabri Yaakob 01042022 (cropped).jpg
(7 July–16 August 2021)
1 year and 169 days
During this interval, the incumbent Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin was the Caretaker Prime Minister. (16–21 August 2021)
Ismail Sabri Fumio Kishida 2022 (cropped).jpg The Honourable Dato' Sri
Ismail Sabri Yaakob

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

(Lost reelection)
21 August
24 November
Position vacant
(since 16 August 2021)
Barisan Nasional
22nd Cabinet
Ismail Sabri
1 year and 96 days
Anwar Ibrahim (cropped 1).jpg The Right Honourable Dato' Seri Haji
Anwar Ibrahim

أنور إبراهيم‎
(b. 1947)
MP for Tambun, since 2022
24 November
Incumbent 2022 TBA Pakatan Harapan
23rd Cabinet
(since 2022)
1 day


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

List of acting prime ministers of Malaysia

Colour key (for political parties):

 Alliance Party  Barisan Nasional

Portrait Name


Term of office Notes Political Party
Tun Abdul Razak (MY 2nd PM).jpg 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.jpeg 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.
Tun VT Sambanthan.png 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 980416.jpg 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 in 18th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement (cropped).jpg 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. Pakatan Harapan
Muhyiddin Yassin (51087589446) (cropped).jpg 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. Perikatan Nasional

Living former prime ministers

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.

Prime ministers by time in office

This is a list of prime minister of Malaysia by time in office. The listed number of days is calculated as the difference between dates, which counts the number of calendar days except the last day. The length of a full prime ministerial term of office usually varies according to when the two former and latter general elections are held. If the last day is included, all numbers would be one day more, except Mahathir Mohamad would have two more days, as he served two non-consecutive terms.

Of the individuals appointed prime minister of Malaysia, one died in office (Abdul Razak Hussein), five resigned from office (Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn, Mahathir Mohamad, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Muhyiddin Yassin) and two lost reelection (Najib Razak and Ismail Sabri Yaakob).

Anwar Ibrahim is spending the shortest time in office, while Mahathir spent the longest. Mahathir is the only Malaysian prime minister to have served more than three full terms.

Mahathir is the only prime minister to leave office and return for a second non-consecutive term. Consequently, while there have been 10 prime ministerships in the nation's history, only 9 people have been sworn into office as Mahathir is numbered as both the 4th and 7th prime minister.

Rank Prime minister Length
in days
Order of prime ministership Number of terms
1 Mahathir Mohamad 8,805 4th • 16 July 1981 – 31 October 2003
7th • 10 May 2018 – 1 March 2020
One partial term (9 months, and 10 days)
followed by four full terms
and two non-consecutive partial terms
(3 years, 11 months, and 2 days)
and (1 year, 9 months, and 20 days)
2 Tunku Abdul Rahman 4,770 1st • 31 August 1957 – 22 September 1970 Three full terms
followed by one partial term (4 months, 12 days)
3 Najib Razak 3,324 6th • 3 April 2009 – 10 May 2018 One partial term (4 years, 1 month, and 2 days)
followed by one full term
4 Hussein Onn 2,009 3rd • 15 January 1976 – 16 July 1981 Two partial terms (2 years, 6 months, and 7 days)
and (2 years, 11 months, and 24 days)
5 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi 1,981 5th • 31 October 2003 – 3 April 2009 One partial term (4 months, and 21 days)
followed by one full term
and one partial term (1 year, and 26 days)
6 Abdul Razak Hussein 1,940 2nd • 22 September 1970 – 14 January 1976 Two partial terms (3 years, 11 months, and 23 days)
and (1 year, and 4 months)
7 Muhyiddin Yassin 538 8th • 1 March 2020 – 21 August 2021 One partial term (1 year, 5 months, and 20 days)
8 Ismail Sabri Yaakob 460 9th • 21 August 2021 – 24 November 2022 One partial term (1 year, 3 months, and 3 days)
9 Anwar Ibrahim 0 10th • 24 November 2022 – Incumbent Currently serving

Prime ministers by age

This is a list of prime ministers of Malaysia by age. The table charts the age of each prime minister of Malaysia at the time of prime ministerial inauguration (first inauguration if elected to multiple and consecutive terms), upon leaving office, and at the time of death. Where the prime minister is still living, their lifespan is calculated up to November 24, 2022.

The youngest person to assume the prime ministership was Abdul Razak Hussein, who, at the age of 48, succeeded to the office after the resignation of Tunku Abdul Rahman. The oldest person to assume the prime ministership was Mahathir Mohamad (as the 7th prime minister), who took the prime ministerial oath of office 62 days before turning 93.

Died at age 53, Abdul Razak was also the youngest prime minister at the end of his tenure, and his lifespan was the shortest of any prime minister. At age 59, Hussein Onn was the youngest person to become a former prime minister. The oldest prime minister at the end of his tenure was Mahathir (as the 7th prime minister) at 94. Mahathir was born before his two predecessors (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi & Najib Razak) (as the 7th prime minister).

Ismail Sabri Yaakob is having the shortest retirement of any prime minister, after leaving office at age 62. Tunku's retirement, 20 years, is the longest in Malaysian prime ministerial history. At age 97, Mahathir is also the oldest living prime minister as well as the nation's longest-lived prime minister. He is the only Malaysian prime minister to have lived into his 90s. The youngest living prime minister is Ismail Sabri Yaakob, age 62.

No. Prime minister Born Age at
start of prime ministership
Age at
end of prime ministership
Post-prime ministership
Died Age
1 Tunku Abdul Rahman Feb 8, 1903 54 years, 204 days
Aug 31, 1957
67 years, 226 days
Sep 22, 1970
20 years, 75 days Dec 6, 1990 87 years, 301 days
2 Abdul Razak Hussein Mar 11, 1922 48 years, 195 days
Sep 22, 1970
53 years, 309 days
Jan 14, 1976
0 days 2022-11-24Jan 14, 1976 53 years, 309 days
3 Hussein Onn Feb 12, 1922 53 years, 337 days
Jan 15, 1976
59 years, 154 days
Jul 16, 1981
8 years, 317 days May 29, 1990 68 years, 106 days
4 Mahathir Mohamad Jul 10, 1925 56 years, 6 days
Jul 16, 1981
78 years, 113 days
Oct 31, 2003
22 years, 107 days (Living) 97 years, 137 days
5 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Nov 26, 1939 63 years, 339 days
Oct 31, 2003
69 years, 128 days
Apr 3, 2009
5 years, 154 days 2022-11-24(Living) 82 years, 363 days
6 Najib Razak Jul 23, 1953 55 years, 254 days
Apr 3, 2009
64 years, 291 days
May 10, 2018
9 years, 37 days 2022-11-24(Living) 69 years, 124 days
7 Mahathir Mohamad Jul 10, 1925 92 years, 304 days
May 10, 2018
94 years, 235 days
Mar 1, 2020
1 year, 296 days 2022-11-24(Living) 97 years, 137 days
8 Muhyiddin Yassin May 15, 1947 72 years, 291 days
Mar 1, 2020
74 years, 98 days
Aug 21, 2021
1 year, 173 days 2022-11-24(Living) 75 years, 193 days
9 Ismail Sabri Yaakob Jan 18, 1960 61 years, 215 days
Aug 21, 2021
62 years, 310 days
Nov 24, 2022
1 year, 95 days 2022-11-24(Living) 62 years, 310 days
10 Anwar Ibrahim Aug 10, 1947 75 years, 106 days
Nov 24, 2022
(Incumbent) (Incumbent) 2022-11-24(Living) 75 years, 106 days
# Prime minister Born Age at
start of prime ministership
Age at
end of prime ministership
Post-prime ministership
Died Age

See also

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