Pakatan now says it supports Dr M as PM

Pakatan now says it supports Dr M as PM

Malaysia's king Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has appointed former Malaysian interior minister and president of the Bersatu party Muhyiddin Yassin as the new prime minister.

Muhyiddin, a former Mahathir ally, had joined forces with UMNO in a bid to win power.

The alliance initially nominated Anwar as the next prime minister but reversed Saturday to support Mahathir's candidacy in order to block a bid by Muhyiddin's camp to form a "backdoor" government involving "kleptocrats and traitors".

A candidate needs the support of 112 out of 222 lawmakers to form the next government.

In the statutory declaration, it stated that Pakatan Harapan had named Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad as their candidate for Prime Minister.

Mahathir and Anwar's "Pact of Hope" alliance stormed to a historic victory in 2018 that broke the six-decade stranglehold on power of a corruption-riddled coalition, but it was riven by infighting over who should succeed Mahathir.

Muhyiddin, a former home minister in Najib Razak's government and most recently in Mahathir Mohamad's, a soft-spoken man widely perceived as a moderate face of Malay politics, was invited by the king to be PM after it was clear the current interim PM, Mahathir, propped up by the PH coalition, did not have the numbers for a majority.

"For the sake of defending the struggle, the Alliance of Hope expresses its full support for Mahathir Mohamad as prime minister, " it said.

The stunning turn of events capped a week of tumult and marked the end of the Alliance of Hope, less than two years after it ousted the UMNO-led coalition that had governed Malaysia since independence in 1957 but had become entangled in a widespread corruption scandal.

After resigning last Monday, Mahathir had sought to form a national unity government that would have given him greater powers, but he won little public support while Anwar rejected the plan and put himself forward for the premiership.

"The king is of the opinion that the member of parliament who possibly has the support of the majority of members of parliament is Muhyiddin Yassin", the palace said.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition, which Mahathir and his party left, now commands 41% of parliament and is backing Anwar as premier. "Today is all about stopping Umno and PAS from returning to government".

Adding to the obvious split in the young party yesterday morning, Bersatu Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman tweeted his unhappiness with Mr Muhyiddin roping in the opposition parties to topple PH.

One member of Bersatu's ruling council said it still backed Mahathir, but later retracted the statement.

The appointment denies Anwar his chance to take the prime minister's reins from Mahathir.

Mahathir made a decision to resign as prime minister February 24.

Mahathir and Anwar's stormy history has shaped Malaysian politics ever since Mahathir - during a first stint in office in the 1990s - sacked Anwar as his deputy, and he was jailed on dubious sodomy charges. Meanwhile, sources in political circles here who keep a close watch on India-Malaysia relations called Muhyiddin an inclusive leader, respectful of all religions and races, and widely supported by the royalty of Malaysia. Malaysia is more than half ethnic Malay, but has large ethnic Chinese, Indian and other minorities.

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