Malaysia’s Mahathir claims enough support to re-form government, challenging appointment of Muhyiddin – dpa international

KUALA LUMPUR — Interim Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said late on Saturday that he has parliamentary support sufficient to enable him to continue as premier, contradicting a statement by King Abdullah that rival Muhyiddin Yassin “was the MP who is likely to secure the majority support.” In the latest twist to a frenetic week of intrigue and alliance-shifting, Mahathir published a list of 114 parliamentarians he said support him continuing in the job, two more than the majority needed to form a government.  Muhyiddin is scheduled to be sworn in as Malaysia’s next prime minister at 10:30 am (0230 GMT) on Sunday, but Mahathir said he hopes the king “will accept my letter (with the 114 names) and explanation.”

Mahathir sidelined in struggle for Malaysian premiership as king turns to former party colleague – dpa international

Muhyiddin Yassin seen giving a speech at an anti-government rally in Kuala Lumpur in November 2016 (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — In the latest twist to what has been a week-long struggle for political control of Malaysia, the country’s largely ceremonial monarchy on Saturday nominated Muhyiddin Yassin as the next prime minister. In a statement issued by the palace, King Abdullah said that Muhyiddin, the president of interim prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Bersatu party, will be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday as he likely commands the most support of any candidate. Malaysia’s constitution stipulates that the king may nominate a prime minister if he deems any candidate “likely to command the confidence of the majority of the MPs,” which in practice usually means the leader of the winning side in parliamentary elections. The announcement came after Mahathir, 94, who resigned on Monday, threw his name into the fray again on Saturday morning.

Mahathir back in the race to lead Malaysia as rival Anwar steps aside – dpa international

Mahathir Mohamad during late night press conference after the Pakatan Harapan/Alliance of Hope win in May 2018 parliamentary elections (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Though he was removed as chairman of his Bersatu party on Saturday after regaining the support of other former allies, Mahathir Mohamad claims he has the backing to be appointed prime minister. “I am now confident that I have the numbers needed to garner majority support in the Dewan Rakyat [parliament],” Mahathir said, in a statement released by the Alliance of Hope/Pakatan Harapan. The 94-year-old Mahathir had led the grouping to a spectacular election win in 2018 but government imploded on Monday when he unexpectedly resigned as prime minister. Bersatu president and prime ministerial candidate Muhyiddin Yassin responded later on Saturday by saying he was replacing Mahathir as party chairman, though other party members quickly disputed the attempted takeover.

Mahathir ousted by own party as Malaysian power struggle rolls on – dpa international

Muhyiddin Yassin pictured to the right of Mahathir Mohamad on the night of May 9 2018, when their Pakatan Harapan/Alliance of Hope won national elections (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s 94-year-old interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was removed as chairman of his own Bersatu party on Saturday, the latest twist in a week-long struggle for control of one of Asia’s wealthier economies. Mahathir announced on Saturday morning that he had regained the backing of the Pakatan Harapan/Alliance of Hope coalition, after previously breaking with the coalition on Monday when unexpectedly resigning as prime minister. In response, Bersatu party president Muhyiddin Yassin said he was replacing Mahathir as chairman. Other party members disputed the attempted takeover.

Pledging billions to address coronavirus impact, Mahathir says Malaysian parliament to decide next prime minister – dpa international

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KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia’s interim prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday that the country’s parliament will reconvene next week to settle who will run the next government, with elections possible if lawmakers cannot decide. “If the Dewan Rakyat (parliament) fails to find anyone with a majority we will have to go to a snap election,” he added. 112 seats are needed for a majority. Mahathir teamed with long-time rival Anwar Ibrahim to win Malaysia’s last elections in 2018, agreeing to hand the leadership to Anwar by May 2020. But Mahathir later stalled on the promise, leading to renewed rivalry between the two. Three parties have backed Anwar’s bid to be prime minister, after previously working under Mahathir as part of the government that fell on Monday. With two major opposition parties calling for elections, Mahathir could struggle to regain the premiership. “At this moment I don’t have the power to form a cabinet,” Mahathir said. “Whoever wins I will accept.”

Parties vie to form new government after Malaysian premier quits – dpa international

BANGKOK — Malaysia’s political parties are holding a flurry of meetings as contending factions jostle to replace the Pakatan Harapan/Alliance of Hope coalition government that collapsed on Monday when Mahathir Mohamad resigned as prime minister. Party representatives lined up to meet Mahathir, who is interim prime minister until a new administration is formed, amid competing claims about who has the 112 parliamentary seats needed for a majority. Various parties are due to meet Malaysia’s king, Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, later on Tuesday as part of the formalities of setting up a new government. The king, clad in a shirt and tie, brought burgers and fries to journalists gathered at the palace gate on Tuesday afternoon. He plans to interview each lawmaker individually on Tuesday and Wednesday in attempt to ascertain what grouping has a majority. Annuar Musa, the secretary-general of the opposition United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), told local media on Tuesday morning that an alliance with several opposition parties – as well as members of the former government, including Mahathir’s Bersatu party – will give UMNO enough MPs to try form a government.

Malaysian parties rally to reinstate premier hours after he quits – dpa international

KUALA LUMPUR — Hours after Mahathir Mohamad’s shock resignation as Malaysian prime minister on Monday, parties in his governing alliance clamoured to endorse his immediate return, as a power vacuum emerged in South-East Asia’s third-biggest economy. Not only did Mahathir resign, but his Bersatu party pulled out of the governing Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition at about the same time, moves that seemingly meant the government’s imminent collapse. But Mahathir’s former government allies seem unprepared to let the 94-year-old go. Lim Guan Eng, Malaysian finance minister and leader of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), a mostly Chinese-Malaysian part of the alliance, said during a press conference later on Monday that it supports the renomination of Mahathir, who was the world’s oldest head of government before he stepped down.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad quits government – dpa international

KUALA LUMPUR — Mahathir Mohamad on Monday resigned as Malaysia’s prime minister and his Bersatu party has quit the governing Alliance of Hope coalition. Mahathir’s move comes after a weekend of drama, with parties from both government and coalition meeting all day Sunday and Anwar Ibrahim, the designated successor to Mahathir, alleging “betrayal” by allies. Anwar and Mahathir met on Monday morning, shortly before Mahathir, at 94 the world’s oldest Prime Minister, announced he would quit. Mahathir previously said he wanted to remain as leader until after Malaysia hosted the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in November.

Malaysia’s leader-in-waiting alleges plot to topple government – dpa international

KUALA LUMPUR – Anwar Ibrahim, the designated successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, accused members of Malaysia’s governing coalition of betrayal as a series of all-day party meetings fuelled speculation that a new government could be formed at his expense. “We are waiting for further information, but there were attempts to bring down the Pakatan government involving our former friend Bersatu (the party led by Mahathir and one of four governing coalition parties) and a small faction from PKR (the coalition party led by Anwar) who has betrayed us,” Anwar said, in a video posted on Facebook. 

Announcement of Malaysia power handover date put off again – dpa international

KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia’s 94-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad again declined to set a date for the long-promised succession of Anwar Ibrahim, a former rival.  “For tonight, there is no time, no date fixed,” Mahathir said, seated beside Anwar during a midnight press conference in the administrative capital Putrajaya.  Anwar said that Mahathir has the coalition’s “full support.” “In the meantime, I will just be patient,” he said.