Malaysian King accepts Mahathir's resignation but appoints him interim premier

Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin (left) has also appointed Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister until a head of government is appointed. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's King accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at their 5pm meeting on Monday (Feb 24), but has appointed him as interim premier.

Chief Secretary to the Government Mohd Zuki Ali said Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin appointed Tun Dr Mahathir as interim prime minister until a head of government is appointed.

Datuk Seri Zuki added that the Malaysian King, on advice of Dr Mahathir, also cancelled the appointment of the current Cabinet line-up.

"The duties of members of the administration comprising the Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, Deputy Ministers as well as political secretaries have ceased effective the same date, which is Feb 24, 2020," Mr Zuki said.

Earlier, Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said Dr Mahathir resigned as prime minister because he refuses to work with Umno, amid speculation that the Malay nationalist party is joining several other parties to return to power.

The ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition on Monday saw the departure of dozens of lawmakers, leaving the party short of a majority in Parliament.

Dr Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which has 26 MPs, announced on Monday that it has left the PH coalition.

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Meanwhile, 11 MPs from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) have also quit the party to form an independent bloc.

The departing lawmakers, a rival faction of Mr Anwar's camp, are led by PKR deputy president Azmin Ali, who is the Economic Affairs Minister, and Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin.

The exit of these lawmakers has left PH short of a simple majority in Parliament, meaning that the current government has effectively fallen.

Meanwhile, DAP's Mr Lim has maintained that PH still has majority support of MPs in Parliament.

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