Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad in shock resignation
25 February 2020
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has resigned from his office and the party he represented, reportedly after a bid by his political partners to bring down the government.
Mahatir, 94, submitted his resignation to the king, amid talks of forming a new coalition to govern the country, reports citing sources close to the development said.
Mahathir, who assumed office in May 2018 for a second term as prime minister, declined to comment. The prime minister’s office also declined to comment, saying that a statement will be issued soon.
Mahatir’s partner in the coalition government and leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim denounced "betrayal" by some partners who were trying to bring down the government.
Speculation is rife that Anwar, who was to succeed Mahathir, and members of his party could be left out of a new coalition, ending his hopes of becoming premier any time soon.
According to reports, the proposed new government includes Mahathir's party, the United Malays National Organisation - the party of scandal-tainted ex-leader Najib Razak, which was ousted at the 2018 polls - and a hardline Islamist group.
Anwar, a former opposition icon who was jailed for years on sodomy charges, said late Sunday he was "shocked" at the bid to topple the ruling coalition, describing it as a "betrayal, because there has been a promise to hand over power to me".
Anwar was expected to meet the king, who must give his assent to the formation of a new government.
The alliance's popularity had plummeted as it was accused of failing to raise living standards and protect the rights of the ethnic Malay Muslim majority, and it lost a string of local polls.
Muslim majority Malaysia is a highly sensitive on issues like race issue. About 60 per cent of the population is Muslim but it is also home to substantial ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities.