Dr Mahathir appointed interim PM

Bersatu pulls out of PH as Dr Mahathir tenders a letter of resignation to the Agong

by RAHIMI YUNUS/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA is left with no government as Pakatan Harapan (PH) lost its Parliamentary majority seats after a component party and faction members abandoned the coalition amid political wrangling since Sunday.

In a political chaos yesterday, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the party pulled out of PH.

Twenty-six Bersatu MPs would effectively be withdrawn from the coalition, leaving members from three component parties of PKR, DAP and Amanah.

Subsequently, a faction of 11 PKR members, led by deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali announced their exit from the party to form an independent bloc in the Parliament.

Azmin and PKR VP Zuraida Kamaruddin, who was among the 11 defectors, were later expelled from the party.

In a turn of events, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) released a statement saying that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had tendered a letter of resignation as the PM to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at 1pm yesterday.

Dr Mahathir had also quit as Bersatu chairman.

As at 6pm yesterday, PH crumbled from holding 139 Parliamentary seats to 102 seats, while no new government coalition was formed to run the country.

The reduced PH now comprises PKR with 39 seats, DAP (42) and Amanah (11).

Political analyst Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday that there are two possible scenarios that could take place.

“Either a new coalition is formed, or the King dissolves the Parliament and calls for a new election.

“We cannot afford to be waiting very long for a new government. This is a very crucial time for our country,” he added.

Political observers were crunching the numbers for a potential new political alliance which could be assembled for Putrajaya.

Many have fancied a new Malay-Muslim dominant pact — a so-called Pakatan Nasional or Perikatan Nasional — that could lead to a union of Bersatu, Umno, a PKR splinter faction and PAS.

This postulation, however, would still not be able to achieve a simple majority in Malaysia’s 222-seat Dewan Rakyat.

The much-rumoured coalition could only secure 94 seats consisting of 26 seats from Bersatu, 39 (Umno), 11 (Azmin’s bloc) and 18 (PAS).

DAP in a statement said Dr Mahathir had earlier stated that he was firm in his principle of “refu-sing to work with Umno” whose leaders are allegedly involved in corruption.

Meanwhile, PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said Dr Mahathir did not play any role in the apparent plot to forge a new government.

DAP, Anwar and Amanah have pledged support for Dr Mahathir to stay as PM on the back of a political turmoil in the country.

“Sabah and Sarawak with a combined 56 seats are the kingmakers. They are the decisive factors in ensuring any contending partner or coalition gets enough seats,” Ahmad Atory said.

Sarawak has 31 Parliamentary seats and Sabah has 25.

At present, a state-based coalition called Gabungan Parti Sarawak has 18 MPs, Parti Bersatu Sarawak has one, Parti Warisan Sabah has nine, Gabungan Bersatu Sabah has three and United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation has one seat.

Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has expressed support for Dr Mahathir as PM.

“If any new coalition cannot convince the Agong, the King has the prerogative to dissolve Parliament and there will be another general election,” Ahmad Atory added.

At past 7pm yesterday, the Palace issued a statement saying the King has accepted the resignation of Dr Mahathir as PM.

However, the Palace said the King has appointed Dr Mahathir as an interim PM, while waiting for the appointment of a new one.