KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is facing an unprecedented politicial situation following the surprise resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pictured) as its seventh prime minister yesterday, and the exit of his political party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), from the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

Adding to the drama was the departure of 11 members of Parliament (MPs) from PKR, an exodus led by its deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

This fuelled speculation that Mohamed Azmin and his group are planning to join forces with Bersatu and opposition parties Umno and PAS, to form a new coalition to topple the Pakatan government.

However, sources told The Edge Financial Daily that Mahathir is not agreeable to the idea, as he is unwilling to work with Umno.

In what is seen as a confirmation of this, Bersatu announced that Mahathir has also tendered his resignation as the party’s chairman.

Meanwhile, on accepting his resignation as prime minister, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has appointed him as interim prime minister.

The announcement was made by the Chief Secretary to the Government Datuk Seri Mohd Zuki Ali after the outgoing premier had an audience with the King just hours after submitting his resignation.

“However, he has consented to appoint Mahathir as interim prime minister while awaiting the appointment of a new prime minister, in accordance with Article 43 (2)(a) of the Federal Constitution,” Mohd Zuki said in a statement.

The article stipulates that the King may appoint a prime minister among MPs who, in his judgement, is likely to command the confidence of the majority in Parliament.

“As such, in this period, he (Mahathir) will administer the country until a new prime minister is appointed and a new Cabinet is formed,” Mohd Zuki added.

Cabinet dissolved; Bersatu holds emergency meeting

In a separate statement later, Mohd Zuki said the King had also consented to revoke the appointments of Cabinet ministers on the advice of the premier, as stipulated under Article 43 (5) of the Federal Constitution.

“In this regard, the duties of administrative members (comprising the deputy prime minister, ministers, deputy ministers and political secretaries) have been halted on the same date,” the statement read.

This is the first time the Cabinet is dissolved outside of the general election season. Typically, the sitting prime minister would dissolve the Cabinet and Parliament ahead of a general election.

During these times, the sitting prime minister would be designated as the caretaker prime minister.

The government machinery would operate normally, although no policy can be formed until the new government and ministers are sworn in.

The developments have put in limbo the status of the federal government, as the Pakatan coalition now lacks the simple majority needed in Parliament to remain in power.

This is because the departure of Bersatu from Pakatan, together with the 11 MPs who have left PKR, leaves Pakatan with just 92 seats in Parliament.

That means even with allies Parti Warisan Sabah (nine MPs) and UPKO (one MP) throwing in their lot with Pakatan, the coalition still does not have the simply majority of 112 needed to remain in government.

At this stage, there is no indication if a fresh election will be required to resolve the issue.

The situation also puts on hold the stimulus package that is supposed to be announced on Thursday, raising concerns that the stalemate would create more economic difficulties.

Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in announcing the party’s decision to turn its back on Pakatan, said in a statement that all 26 sitting MPs from the party have signed statutory declarations to pledge their support behind Mahathir.

He said the decision was made at the party’s supreme council meeting on Sunday.

But following Mahathir’s resignation as party chairman, an emergency meeting was held at its headquarters last night, which lasted over two hours.

It is learnt that the meeting was to discuss the future direction of the Malay-based party, whose decision to leave the ruling coalition is said to have divided its members.

Among Bersatu MPs seen attending the meeting were: Muhyiddin, Syed Saddiq, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, Datuk Seri Redzuan Yusof, Datuk Marzuki Yahya, Datuk Seri Rina Harun and Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah.

At press time, no announcement had been made as to what the meeting had decided.

Dr M not the mastermind, says Anwar

Meanwhile, Pakatan leaders have come out to say that Mahathir is not the mastermind behind the political drama that has been unfolding since the Pakatan presidential council meeting last Friday, which discussed but failed to finalise the date for Mahathir to pass the premiership to Anwar.

“No, I think it is not him ... his name was used by those within my party and outside. And he reiterated what he had said to me earlier, that he played no part in it. It is very clear that he will, in no way, ever work with those associated with the past regime,” said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when met by reporters following a meeting with the King yesterday.

Anwar also said he knew of Mahathir’s intention to resign when they met in the morning, and that he had tried to persuade the latter not to do so.

“I was with him, I was informed. But I could not [reveal it] until he released [his decision] publicly. We discussed [about it] and I did appeal to him on behalf of PKR and Pakatan Harapan, that this treachery could be dealt with together.

“But of course he is of a different mind. He thought it should not be treated in that manner — to associate him with those whom we believe are corrupt,” Anwar added.

Click here to see commercial properties for sale in Kuala Lumpur.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on Feb 25, 2020.

Click here for more property stories


  1. Anwar announces free rides on Putrajaya MRT line till March 31
  2. Empowering public transport important to overcome congestion, says Anwar
  3. Proposed offer to lease Kampung Baru not suitable as it could jeopardise Malay rights, says PM