KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — DAP lawmakers said Pakatan Harapan (PH) decided against a non-partisan “Mahathir government” as this would not be beholden to any party or coalition, effectively giving Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad free rein to do as he wanted.
DAP assistant national publicity secretary Yeo Bee Yin was among the first to post the message on her Facebook page but her aide later clarified that it was a common statement DAP MPs were sharing.
The DAP statement said Dr Mahathir would not have to consult any party or coalition in filling his Cabinet, for instance, and could appoint PAS and Umno leaders as his ministers if he desired.
DAP was explaining why PH decided to back PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be the country’s next prime minister despite previously saying it backed Dr Mahathir.
DAP noted the events that led to PH’s decision, including Dr Mahathir’s Sunday refusal to follow his own party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) and PKR’s then deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali to form a new government with Umno and PAS.
Noting that Dr Mahathir resigned as prime minister on Monday as an act of protest, DAP said the party initially thanked him for “standing firm on the principle of refusing to work with the corrupt from Umno” and also expressed support for him to continue as the prime minister for the PH government.
On Monday, however, PH no longer had the required majority to remain the government with PPBM’s departure that was compounded by Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and 10 other lawmakers’ exit from PKR.
“However, after Mahathir received support from all the parties to continue as PM, Mahathir wanted to form a ‘unity government of individuals’.
“This means that only Mahathir will decide who will be cabinet ministers. DAP and other political parties will not be consulted in the process,” the statement said.
“In addition, the proposed Cabinet from Mahathir will likely include the same personalities who triggered the current crisis, as well as MPs from Umno and PAS.
“Effectively, it is a Mahathir government and not a PH government. The promises of the PH manifesto will not be fulfilled,” the statement added.
DAP said PH had invited Dr Mahathir to attend its presidential council meeting last night to discuss the coalition’s concerns over the unity government proposal, but said Dr Mahathir had declined to join the meeting.
“Therefore, the PH leadership decided at the meeting to defend the people’s mandate to the PH government and to fulfil our PH manifesto by nominating Anwar Ibrahim as PH PM.
“We call upon all Malaysians to support the nomination of Anwar Ibrahim as the 8th PM of Malaysia, to respect the mandate given in the 14th GE and to ensure continued stability for the nation,” DAP said in the same statement.
The same statement carried on Yeo’s official Facebook post were carried by other DAP MPs such as DAP deputy secretary-general Teresa Kok and Kasthuri Patto on their Facebook pages, while a Malay-language version was carried on DAP’s official Facebook page and by DAP MP Wong Tack’s Facebook page.
Earlier today in his first public statement since the Monday collapse of the PH government, Dr Mahathir said he had resigned as prime minister in the face of accusations that he was power-crazy, claiming that he did not see power and position as being his objective.
Dr Mahathir also claimed that he was forced to resign as prime minister to avoid working with Umno in a new government, pointing out that this would be the case if PPBM, which had left PH, joined forces with former election losers PAS and Umno to form a new government.
Dr Mahathir said that such a new coalition would have seen Umno dominating due to it having the highest number of MPs there with 42 MPs, adding that he was only willing to accept former Umno members instead of the whole party Umno in a new government.
Dr Mahathir also said he hoped to have a non-partisan government that would only prioritise national interests, which affirmed previous speculation and reports of his intention to push for a unity government.
At this point in time, no coalition has emerged with the required simple majority or the support of at least 112 MPs out of the 222-MP Dewan Rakyat to form a new government, with Dr Mahathir playing the role of interim prime minister for now.