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Mahathir quit as PM owing to lack of support

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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during a recent visit to Cambodia. KT/Chor Sokunthea

KUALA LUMPUR (Malay Mail) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Tuesday said that he resigned as Malaysia’s prime minister not on the spur of the moment, but only after he believed that he had no longer command the majority in Parliament.

In a brief post on his blog, Dr Mahathir refuted the claim made by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that his sudden resignation had triggered the week-long political tumult that saw the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government fall.

“The prime minister claimed that the political crisis started when I, Mahathir Mohamad had resigned as the prime minister,” he wrote, referring to Muhyiddin.

“Was it true that I resigned without a reason all of a sudden? I, who supposedly had the support of the government and opposition parties, including (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and a few more others who are on trial on charges of bribery, supporting me? This does not make sense.

“The truth is that I resigned because in my admission in front of His Majesty, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (king), I did not receive support from my supporters. I did not receive the majority and no longer qualified to be the prime minister,” he added.

Last night in a special address to the nation, Muhyiddin said he never wanted to become the country’s prime minister, but had only made the decision to offer himself for the position for the sake of the country.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president said his party had initially nominated its former chairman Dr Mahathir, but the Langkawi MP and also PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had both failed to command the majority of the Dewan Rakyat.

In the afternoon of February 23, party leaders including Muhyiddin, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang, Gabungan Parti Sarawak chairman Datuk Abang Johari Openg, and Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Later that night, Azmin had held a dinner inviting leaders from those parties, sparking speculation of a move to form a new coalition to take over Putrajaya from Pakatan Harapan.

The day after at February 24, Bersatu pulled out from Pakatan Harapan, following which Dr Mahathir resigned both as prime minister and Bersatu chairman.

In his blog, Dr Mahathir then explained that his resignation was accepted by the Palace, and he was subsequently told to helm the nation as the interim prime minister.

“Who would replace me? The people were bored with politicians who prioritised politics above good governance. I suggested that a unity government is formed where non-political people of knowledge can join in the government.

“Party members can also join in the government but as ordinary people that is not bound to their party agendas,” he related.

“But my suggestion was rejected. I then resigned. And the crisis prolonged. I, too, do not know when it will end,” he said.

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