KUALA LUMPUR: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim said on Monday (Feb 24) that Dr Mahathir Mohamad had played no part in an attempt to create a new ruling coalition in Malaysia.
This came after Dr Mahathir resigned as prime minister, while quitting as chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).
Speaking to CNA at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters after an audience with the king, Mr Anwar said he had spoken to Dr Mahathir earlier in the day. The latter had indicated that he had nothing to do with the ongoing problems, said Mr Anwar.
“I think this was not him because his name was used. Those within my party and outside (are) using his name. He reiterated what he had said to me earlier - he played no part in it,” said Mr Anwar.
“He made very clear that in no way will he ever work with those associated with the past regime.”
The PKR leader said that he had appealed to Dr Mahathir against resigning.
“I was with him and I was informed of it (the resignation) but I couldn’t (announce it) until it was released publicly.
“I did appeal to him on behalf of Keadilan and Pakatan Harapan (PH), that this treachery could be dealt with together. But of course he has got a different mind,” Mr Anwar added. “He thought he shouldn’t be treated in that manner”.
When asked to comment on what would happen next, Mr Anwar told CNA that Dr Mahathir will have an audience with the king later today.
Pressed on whether he would take on the role as the next prime minister, he replied: “We shall see”.
Dr Mahathir’s shock resignation as prime minister came after intense speculation that he would lead Bersatu to exit PH and form a new government with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and others.
Dr Mahathir was Malaysia’s fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003, when he was heading UMNO.
He quit UMNO in 2016 and formed Bersatu the same year and assumed the role as its chairman.
He led PH to a shock victory in the May 2018 polls, breaking Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule since the country’s independence.
Mr Anwar, who is prime minister-in-waiting according to a PH agreement, had on Sunday conceded that he has been betrayed by coalition partners.
On Monday morning, Mr Anwar and Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail met Dr Mahathir at the latter's residence, together with Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu.
DAP CONDEMNS EFFORTS TO FORM BACK-DOOR GOVERNMENT
In a statement by DAP’s Mr Lim on Monday afternoon, he said that his party “condemns the treachery of some PH leaders and Members of Parliament that attempted to form a back-door government to replace the existing democratically-elected PH government”.
Such political manipulation has affected the government’s efforts to address economic issues and improve livelihoods of Malaysian businesses and people, he said.
“In objecting to this nefarious attempt to subvert and undermine the people’s mandate given to PH, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had submitted his resignation as Prime Minister and Bersatu Chairman,” said Mr Lim.
He said that in the meeting earlier on Monday, Dr Mahathir clearly stated that he cannot work with UMNO when PH worked so hard to reject UMNO successfully in the 2018 general elections.
This is the first time that a Malaysian prime minister is prepared to resign on principle to uphold integrity and combat corruption, noted Mr Lim.
“This consistency and principled stand in rejecting a corrupt UMNO should be supported by all Malaysians. DAP intends to propose to the PH Presidential Council at its emergency meeting tonight to continue to nominate Tun Dr Mahathir to continue as Prime Minister of Malaysia.”
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