KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he is withholding his approval of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration.
Yesterday, the new prime minister said he would like for Dr Mahathir to endorse his administration after expressing his wish for this government to be one that served all Malaysians.
Dr Mahathir explained to Sinar Harian in an interview that he would not endorse Muhyiddin as the latter has shown no aversion to associating with “irregulars, thieves, robbers and kleptocrats.”
“I cannot do that,” he said.
When it was pointed out to him that those whom he alluded to were not included in Muhyiddin’s Cabinet, Dr Mahathir suggested that it was inevitable.
Umno leaders’ responses to Muhyiddin’s Cabinet announcement appear to support Dr Mahathir’s assertion, as several are already grumbling about the apparent lack of recognition for both their party’s seniority and significance in the Perikatan Nasional coalition.
“For now (there are no tainted leaders in the Cabinet)... but these are powerful people. They have the power to bring down the government.
“Umno has over 50 (MPs), while Bersatu — if you add them all in — has only 30. If Umno withdraws support, then the government falls,” he said.
Umno does not have more than 50 MPs; it has 39 at the moment. Bersatu has 36 MPs.
Dr Mahathir resigned unexpectedly in February to trigger a political crisis that brought down the Pakatan Harapan administration and culminated in Muhyiddin’s appointment as the new PM heading the new Perikatan Nasional government.