KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) has quit the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, as the political situation in the country took a dramatic turn on Monday (Feb 24) over a possible realignment.
This came as 11 members of parliament from Mr Anwar Ibrahim’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), including deputy president Mr Azmin Ali, declared their departure from the party and PH to form an independent bloc in the parliament.
Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin said the party’s supreme council made the decision on Sunday.
“The decision was made after taking the current political developments and the country’s future into consideration,” he said.
He added that all Bersatu MPs have signed a declaration of oath to continue to support and to trust Dr Mahathir as Malaysia’s prime minister.
However, Dr Mahathir tendered his resignation as the head of government and as chairman of Bersatu on Monday afternoon.
The series of developments followed a day of meetings by political parties on Sunday, which culminated with an audience with the Malaysian king and a dinner at a hotel in Petaling Jaya.
Mr Anwar conceded the developments to be a betrayal by coalition partners.
These actions were seen as efforts to stop him from becoming the next prime minister, as agreed among PH parties when they teamed up to campaign against scandal-riddled Barisan Nasional in the 2018 general election.
Mr Anwar’s PKR has been bogged down by internal strife, with a group of senior members aligned to Mr Azmin openly supporting Dr Mahathir to be full-term prime minister instead of passing the baton to Mr Anwar.
On Monday, Mr Azmin led 10 other MPs to quit the party and PH.
The 10 included Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin, Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah and Works Minister Baru Bian.
“We, PKR MPs, declare that we are leaving PKR and PH coalition to form an independent bloc in the Parliament,” the statement read.