- The caretaker premier says he has no intention of supporting his party president, Muhyiddin Yassin, for the role of prime minister
- Muhyiddin had gone to former ruling party Umno for support, a move Mahathir pushed back against due to its history of corruption
In another shock move in Malaysia's ongoing political impasse, caretaker premier Mahathir Mohamad on Saturday morning announced he was putting himself forward as the candidate for the role of prime minister with the support of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance led by Anwar Ibrahim. The four-party alliance collapse last week when Mahathir's Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu) pulled out on Monday, prompting the 94-year-old to resign from the prime ministership he previously held from 1981 to 2003.
His latest act in the saga deals a major blow to the prime ministerial ambitions of the Malay nationalist leader Muhyiddin Yassin " president of Bersatu " who just last night appeared to have solidified support to form a new government following days of leaderless turmoil in the country.
Support for Mahathir from his on-off rival Anwar, 72, is also surprising as the latter earlier this week wrote off further cooperation with the elder statesman for insisting on forming a "non-partisan" government that PH politicians claimed would grant the premier "dictatorial" executive powers.
"This morning I had a meeting with leaders of Pakatan Harapan. I am now confident that I have the numbers needed to garner majority support in the Dewan Rakyat (Malaysia's lower decision-making Parliamentary house)," said Mahathir in a statement early on Saturday. "I am therefore prepared to stand as prospective candidate for Prime Minister."
Mahathir's resignation, which came after a scuppered attempt by some of his purported followers in other parties at forming a backdoor government, has seen he, Anwar and ex-deputy prime minister Muhyiddin involved in a power struggle to win a majority support from elected representatives in Malaysia's 222-man Parliament. A backing of 112 MPs is required.
Malaysian MPs warned against accepting bribes amid political chaos
Each man has claimed at different points they held the majority, resulting in the nation's monarch interviewing all MPs individually in an attempt to make a decision.
Under Malaysia's Constitution, the king has the authority to appoint any individual to the premiership if he believes they are able to command the majority of the house.
Muhyiddin had turned to the corruption-tainted former ruling party the United Malays National Organisation (Umno) for support, a move that Mahathir had pushed back against, saying he was unwilling to allow the party into government due to its history of graft.
"As I had repeatedly stated, I am against any form of cooperation with individuals who are known to be corrupt and was part of the kleptocratic administration which the Pakatan Harapan Government had worked hard to (get) rid of … And as I had stated before, while I am not prepared to work with those who are corrupt from Umno, I can accept them individually for so long as they are proven clean," he said on Saturday. "Perhaps Muhyiddin is more relaxed towards this approach."
Earlier in the week, the Pakatan Harapan coalition " which Bersatu unceremoniously exited on Monday " withdrew its support for Mahathir and backed Anwar after the former went on television to announce his intentions of forming a unity government sans Umno.
On Saturday, however, it walked back this assertion and switched its support back to Mahathir, who was also premier from 1981 to 2003.
Copyright (c) 2020. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章