Mahathir says he and Anwar failed to get enough support to form govt

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

PUTRAJAYA • Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that his resignation as Malaysian prime minister in February had nothing to do with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition wanting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to take over the post, and it was because he had lost the trust of his own party.

Dr Mahathir said that after his resignation on Feb 24, he and Mr Anwar both failed to garner enough support from MPs to become the prime minister.

Dr Mahathir, 95, was explaining why he suddenly quit as prime minister this year, a move that threw Malaysia into political turmoil for a week in February. He has faced regular accusations since then that he abruptly resigned in order to prevent Mr Anwar, 73, from replacing him as prime minister as had been agreed by the then ruling PH coalition.

The collapse of PH led to the emergence of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Muhyiddin Yassin as a viable candidate to become Malaysia's eighth prime minister. Tan Sri Muhyiddin was appointed premier on March 1 by the Malaysian King, after getting a sufficient number of MPs to support him.

Dr Mahathir, who was then chairman of Bersatu, said in a blog post that his party went against him on Feb 23 and left the PH coalition, thus causing automatic collapse of the government.

"On Feb 23, I told Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that his idea of Bersatu leaving Pakatan must be postponed as Pakatan was still supporting me. When the Bersatu supreme council met after my meeting with Muhyiddin and his friends, I begged that they postpone leaving Pakatan. I suggested that we wait and see Pakatan's reaction," Dr Mahathir wrote.

"The supreme council rejected my suggestion and agreed that Bersatu would leave Pakatan immediately. To me, this was the final decision. This meant the trust in me as the chairman was no more.

"This also meant that Bersatu had left Pakatan and the government had fallen."

Following PH's collapse, both Dr Mahathir and Mr Anwar failed to get the minimum 112 MPs from the 222-strong Parliament, to support their candidacy as the new prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said that after PH's collapse, he had support from just 66 MPs, while Mr Anwar could get only 92 MPs to back him.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 22, 2020, with the headline 'Mahathir says he and Anwar failed to get enough support to form govt'. Print Edition | Subscribe