Mahathir or Muhyiddin? Bersatu sees split in choice of Malaysia's PM

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia found itself split between founding chairman Mahathir Mohamad (left) and president Muhyiddin Yassin, as the two politicians drew their knives out for each other amid a tussle for the country's highest post
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia found itself split between founding chairman Mahathir Mohamad (left) and president Muhyiddin Yassin, as the two politicians drew their knives out for each other amid a tussle for the country's highest postPHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on Saturday (Feb 29) found itself split between founding chairman Mahathir Mohamad and president Muhyiddin Yassin, as the two politicians drew their knives out against each other amid a tussle for the country's highest post.

A series of U-turns by the party leadership on Saturday (Feb 29) morning started with Tun Dr Mahathir's statement saying that he had the numbers to form the government, followed by Pakatan Harapan's declaration that the coalition fully supported the 94-year-old politician.

Bersatu secretary-general Marzuki Yahya then issued a statement saying that "the only individual with the absolute power to lead the party" was Bersatu chairman Dr Mahathir.

He added that all "party actions and directions" must be based on Dr Mahathir's decision. However, just minutes later, the statement was retracted.

This was quickly followed by a statement from Tan Sri Muhyiddin stating that Dr Mahathir had resigned as chairman on Monday (Feb 24), and that Mr Muhyiddin himself was acting chairman.

This despite a previous statement by the party on Thursday that Dr Mahathir's resignation had been rejected by the party leadership.

Mr Marzuki has since reissued a fresh statement on Saturday, affirming that Dr Mahathir remains as Bersatu chairman.

Earlier on Saturday morning, Bersatu youth chief Syed Saddiq had tweeted that "this is not about party or majority. This is about identity and integrity", indicating that he was against Mr Muhyiddin's attempts to form a backdoor government. Mr Saddiq was seen photographed with Dr Mahathir in a meeting on Saturday morning with PH leaders.