Malaysia's Muhyiddin named PM, old rivals sidelined

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A shock result for Malaysia on Saturday (February 29), after 94-year-old interim leader Mahathir Mohamad lost the battle to become the country's prime minister.

The king named former interior minister Muhyiddin Yassin for the premiership, after a week of political turmoil sparked by Mahathir's resignation - before he made the last minute decision to stand for the top job.

Speaking after the announcement, Muhyiddin said he was "gratefu" to be appointed.

The decision could again reshape politics in the southeast Asian country, less than two years after an alliance of Mahathir, and old rival Anwar Ibrahim, swept out the former ruling party that had been tarnished by corruption scandals.

That former ruling party of six decades, the United Malays National Organisation, was among those that had rallied in support of Muhyiddin, along with the Islamist party PAS.

Although Mahathir and Anwar announced Saturday (February 29) that they had joined hands once again, the palace said in a statement the king's decision was based on Muhyiddin's potential to command a majority in parliament.

But his position could change again depending on whether he is able to win a confidence vote.