Mahathir Mohammad leaving the office at 94 has resigned as Malaysian Prime Minister and has submitted his resignation to the King. His resignation comes amid reports that he may install a new coalition to ditch his promised successor Anwar Ibrahim. The statesman aged 92 returned as Malaysia’s and World’s oldest Prime Minister in May 2018. He handed then Prime Minister, Najib Razak a surprising defeat who was accused of corrupt practices and plunder in a multibillion-dollar financial scandal.
The PM office reported that the letter of resignation was submitted at 13:00 local time and nothing further was stated. The country now is surely into a political crisis and it’s not clear as who will step up to take the charge or if this could be a time for new elections.
Mahathir has also stepped down from Bersatu, the political party he led as Chairman. The party was a part of opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan that Mahathir entered in 2018 with Anwar Ibrahim. On Sunday Anwar Ibrahim, the president of the People’s Justice Party called out outgoing President and his party for being traitors saying they had plans to install a new government without him. But, Mahathir in a surprise moved shocked everyone by coming up with the resignation.
Despite this, BBC’s South Asia Correspondent Jonathan Head claims that the oldest Prime Minister in the world might not actually be ready to leave the office. “At 94, Mahathir Mohammad is still the master manipulator of Malaysian politics, and few believe he is ready to step down, despite the dramatic offer of resignation he has just sent to the country’s constitutional monarch,” said Journalist.
“It is possible, even likely, that Mr. Mahathir will remain as PM.”
Mahathir and Anwar have had a rather complex political relationship and on and off political rifts between the two have dominated national politics for decades.
The 94-year-old Mahathir ruled the country from 1981 to 2003 from the platform of Barisan Nasional (BN) and is credited with turning Malaysia into a major trading and economic force and one of the most developed economies of the Southeast Asian region. Mr. Anwar served as Mahathir’s deputy but their relationship deteriorated when the former was sacked in a leadership dispute.
The sacked leader was then jailed on the charges of sodomy and corruption under the rule of Mohammad. But to the surprise of many, Mahathir in May 2018 revealed his plans to form a coalition government with Anwar under the umbrella of Pakatan Harapan. On his return, the veteran Malaysian politician and respected stateman maintained he was teaming up with Anwar to oust the government of Mr. Najib who was indicted in IMDB: 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal. Mahathir and Anwar ultimately materialized the alliance to end six decades of UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional coalition rule and Mahathir had promised to hand over power to his running mate.
Mahathir’s party, the Malaysian United Indigenous Party (Bersatu) on Monday announced it would be splitting with the ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan in support of the PM.
“All members of the House of Representatives of the party are also out of Pakatan Harapan. All of them have signed the Oath to continue to support and trust Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Prime Minister of Malaysia,” BERSATU President Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin said in a statement.