Doonited Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resignsNews
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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigns

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigns
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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned on Monday in a move analysts said appeared to be an effort to form a new coalition and block the succession of leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim. The shock move followed weekend political drama that saw an attempt by Anwar’s rivals within his own “Pact of Hope” coalition — which stormed to a historic election victory in 2018 — and opposition politicians to form a new government.

Shortly before, Mahathir’s Bersatu party announced it was leaving the ruling coalition and 11 lawmakers resigned from Anwar’s party, leaving the Pact of Hope in tatters and fuelling speculation efforts could be under way to form a new alliance. Anwar was due to see the king Monday, with speculation mounting that he would try to convince him that he had the backing of enough MPs to form a government.

As finance minister and a powerful UMNO figure in the 1990s, Anwar had been tipped as Mahathir’s successor for the premiership, but his boss sacked him after they fell out over how to respond to a financial crisis. Anwar was arrested and thrown in jail after being convicted of sodomy and corruption in a case critics said was trumped up, but he emerged from prison to unify a ragtag political opposition into a potent force against the long-ruling government.

Tensions had risen in the Pact of Hope coalition after Mahathir refused to fix a date to hand power to Anwar. The government’s popularity had also been falling and they lost a string of local polls, as they faced accusations of failing to protect the country’s ethnic Malay Muslim majority and not moving fast enough on reforms. Their opponents also argued the party was becoming dominated by ethnic Chinese politicians.

 

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