Mahathir claims majority, as king prepares to swear in rival

Mahathir claims majority, as king prepares to swear in rival thumbnail
Malaysia's interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad leaves after an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 28, 2020 [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters] Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Malaysia's interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday morning that his Pakatan Harapan coalition had enough support to form a government and would prove it with a vote in Parliament,…

Malaysia's interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad leaves after an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 28, 2020 [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Malaysia’s interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad leaves after an event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 28, 2020 [Lim Huey Teng/Reuters]

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Malaysia’s interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Sunday morning that his Pakatan Harapan coalition had enough support to form a government and would prove it with a vote in Parliament, just an hour before the king was due to swear in ally-turned-rival Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.

“I am telling the public that I have the majority support,” Mahathir told journalists in a live-streamed news conference. “I have the 114.”

The 94-year-old veteran politician said he had proof of the support in the form of statutory declarations and letters and called for an urgent sitting of Parliament.

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Mahathir was flanked by politcians from the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which won power in May 2018, but has been dogged by political in-fighting that came to a head last weekend when a splinter group tried to form an alliance with the opposition. The move led to Mahathir’s resignation and days of uncertainty that the king, a constitutional monarch, had sought to resolve by meeting each member of Parliament individually.

On Saturday, the palace announced that Muhyiddin, 72, had the confidence of Parliament and would be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday.

Betrayal

Mahathir said he felt betrayed by Muhyiddin, who was previously home minister with the Pakatan Harapan government. 

“We are going to see a man who does not have majority support become prime minister,” he said.

Over the past week, Muhyiddin, who started his political career in the 1970s with the then-dominant United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), has cobbled together an alliance with UMNO and PAS, Malaysia’s Islamic party, with support from the main party in the Borneo territory of Sarawak.

Malaysia protest

Some Malaysians held a protest in central Kuala Lumpur after it was announced that Muhyiddin would become Malaysia’s next prime minister, saying UMNO was returning by the ‘back door’ [Vincent Thian/AP Photo]

Muhyiddin was deputy prime minister under Najib Razak when he was sacked in 2015, amid a multibillion-dollar corruption scandal at state fund 1MDB.

He left UMNO and joined forces with Mahathir, who helped the multi-ethnic Pakatan Harapan coalition to victory in the May 2018 election.

Najib is now on trial for corruption, as are a number of other senior UMNO politicians.

SOURCE:
Al Jazeera News

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