KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed disappointment in a man he claimed had been plotting a government without Pakatan Harapan for a long time, the same person just minutes away from being sworn as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.
Dr Mahathir, when asked if he felt disappointed in Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali for his actions that contributed to the weeklong political turmoil, sidestepped and instead took a swipe towards Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
“He (Azmin) has his own agenda, but he has chosen to work with Muhyiddin,” he said during a special press conference at Yayasan Al-Bukhary, referring to Azmin.
“But I feel betrayed mostly by Muhyiddin. He was working on this for a long time and now he has succeeded.
Dr Mahathir also revealed that amid the confusion over the status of his chairmanship in Bersatu, Muhyiddin had taken the liberty to appoint himself as the chairman, which he claimed was an illegal move.
As a result, when asked, Dr Mahathir said he was in no position to sack Muhyiddin from Bersatu as the party was under the latter’s full control.
“He appointed himself as chairman in my absence, which is of course totally illegal.
“It’s not according to the constitution of Bersatu, but to him that is not important.
“He now claims he is the leader of Bersatu, but I am still the chairman of Bersatu,” Dr Mahathir exclaimed.
Later, when asked if he regretted resigning as the PM last Monday, Dr Mahathir insisted he had to do so as he did not want to work with his former party, Umno.
“I had no choice; I had to resign because when I saw that the coalition that is going to be formed by Bersatu is with Umno en bloc, that means I am going to accept people I fought against because of their corruption and I have to work with these people.
“That, I am not prepared to do, but Muhyiddin is prepared to do it,” he said.
Dr Mahathir and PH had scrambled to assemble a list to prove he had the support of 114 MPs last night, hoping this would convince the Yang diPertuan Agong to grant him an audience immediately before Muhyiddin would be sworn in.
PH returned to its familiar role as the Opposition today after the Agong declined Dr Mahathr’s request and swore Muhyiddin in as the eighth prime minister and the head of a new Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The informal PN coalition comprises former PH component Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu); Barisan Nasional’s Umno, MCA and MIC; along with PAS.
PH is preparing to shift the battle to Parliament where the coalition will seek to demonstrate that Muhyiddin does not have the support of the majority of the country’s federal lawmakers.