Reports are emerging from several news outlets that Malaysia’s 94-year-old prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has handed in his letter of resignation today, paving the way for more political instability in the country that began over the weekend, with rumors swirling of a power struggle.
Two “reliable” sources confirmed the news to international wire Reuters, corroborating earlier reports that had emerged in online portal, Malaysian Insight. Local media have now started stating Dr. M’s departure as fact.
Over the weekend, Malaysia’s media was left scrambling, with few facts to go on, after sundry political leaders held secret meetings at local hotels. This lead many to speculate that the rumors that had been swirling over the last three months could finally be coming true: that Mahathir would remove his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), from the coalition it had formed with PKR and others, and form a new government with new partners.
PPBM’s exit from the Pakatan Harapan coalition was confirmed today, around the same time that Mahathir’s resignation was reported.
Speculation reached a fever pitch over the weekend, when many sources began leaking unconfirmed news that PKR’s deputy president and economic affairs minister, Azmin Ali, would be leaving the party and defecting to the new coalition.
Mahathir’s sweeping return to power after the 14th General Election in 2018 surprised many observers, who were astounded to see a nonagenarian rise to power for the second time after a previous 22-year tenure that many perceived to be a defining period in modern Malaysian politics. However, Mahathir’s return to leadership was not with his old UMNO party, but with a newly formed one, Bersatu, who allied themselves with the Pakatan Harapan coalition, a group containing many of his old adversaries, in order to secure victory.
It was never going to be easy, but did we think it was going to get this messy? Well, yes – yes, we did.
More news as it comes, folks! Stay tuned.
This article, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir resigns amid political upheaval: reports, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!