In a huge setback to Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysian King has appointed Muhyiddin Yassin as country’s new Prime Minister. Muhyiddin’s Bersatu party had said in a statement that 36 lawmakers decided to support the party President instead of Mahathir as Prime Minister. On February 29, Mahathir, in a dramatic turn of events, struck a deal with his former ruling alliance partner Anwar Ibrahim to thwart Muhyiddin’s bid but King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah believed that Muhyiddin has the support of a majority of lawmakers.
Earlier, Mahathir, who also belongs to Beratsu party, had planned to convene the Parliament on March 2 in order to allow lawmakers to choose their leader but Malaysian King rejected it saying he will continue to strive to find a solution in accordance with the constitution, in the interests of the people and country. Though the 94-year-old leader did not deny the possibility of snap elections, he wanted the Parliament to decide on the new leader. Speaking to a news conference on February 27, Mahathir said that the nation will go for snap elections if the Lower House fails to elect a person with a majority.
Mahathir had resigned from the prime ministerial post following a series of meeting were held on February 23 to plan the formation of a new federal government. Amid the political turmoil, Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) expelled Minister of Economic Affairs Mohamed Azmin Ali and Minister of Housing & Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin for acting against the party. PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, in a Facebook Live broadcast on February 23, had expressed shock on the political developments calling it a betrayal of the promises made during government formation. In the series of events, Mahathir returned as the interim Prime Minister and started working on a plan to stay at the helm and finally decided to realign with rival Anwar Ibrahim.
(With AP inputs)