Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia's King Al-Sultan Abdullah called the two main contenders to be prime minister - opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and former premier Muhyiddin Yassin - for an audience, the palace said in a statement.
Earlier, as the political crisis caused by an inconclusive election dragged on for a third day, the king had stated that he would choose the next prime minister soon but had not given a timeframe for his choice.
The election resulted in an unprecedented hung parliament, with neither of the two main prime minister contenders winning the simple majority needed to form a government.
The election prolongs political instability in the Southeast Asian nation, which has had three prime ministers in as many years, and risks delays to policy decisions needed to galvanize an economic recovery.
The incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition said it would not support either candidate, a move that would prevent both Anwar and Muhyiddin from reaching a majority.
It is now up to the constitutional monarch, who plays a largely ceremonial role but can appoint whoever he believes will command a majority. “Let me make a decision soon,” the king told reporters outside the national palace. He also asked Malaysians to accept any decision about the government formation.
Fears have also been sparked by its political victories in Malaysia, a multi-religious country with sizable ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities who practise other religions. Sharia law has been promoted by the PAS Islamist party.
Malaysian police cautioned the country’s social media users to refrain from posting “provocative” content on race and religion after the divisive election.