Who has the upper hand in Mahathir v Muhyiddin showdown?

The May 18 parliamentary sitting will be a test of strength not only between the PN government and its predecessor but also between the two veteran politicians

A 2018 file photo showing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (far left) and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when they were allies. Last week, Dr Mahathir, who resigned as Malaysian prime minister in February, moved a motion of no confidence against Mr Muhyiddin at the
A 2018 file photo showing Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (far left) and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad when they were allies. Last week, Dr Mahathir, who resigned as Malaysian prime minister in February, moved a motion of no confidence against Mr Muhyiddin at the next sitting of Parliament on May 18. Political turbulence lies ahead as both prepare to do battle in Parliament, says the writer. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia's Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has often been likened to a "smiling tiger", a man whose charm and laid-back demeanour belie the instincts of a ruthless political animal.

In the lead-up to the next sitting of Parliament next Monday, he has clearly marked his prey - Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. Should he succeed, Tan Sri Muhyiddin will be the third prime minister to be brought down by 94-year-old Dr Mahathir.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2020, with the headline 'Who has the upper hand in Mahathir v Muhyiddin showdown?'. Subscribe