Veteran Malaysian leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he will try at any step to overthrow Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, scolding his successor for bringing back to power a graft-laden group defeated by voters in a historic election two years ago.
Malaysia’s possibility of further financial and business instability arrives at a period when the multi-ethnic Southeast Asian nation is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic ‘s health epidemic and economic effects. Today, Mahathir, a 94-year-old who retired in February, challenged Muhyiddin’s 2-1/2 month old alliance with the United Malays National Organization ( Umno).
Muhyiddin, who had been part of Mahathir ‘s administration, emerged suddenly as prime minister in March after forming an coalition with Umno to secure a parliamentary majority. The opposition has accused him of taking influence from the ballot box by changing relationships rather than winning it.
The government rejected a vote of confidence tabled by Mahathir earlier this week, maintaining that parliament prioritized the battle against coronavirus and its economic repercussions. But Mahathir reckoned that Muhyiddin ‘s coalition still retained a two-seat plurality in the 222-seat lower house of parliament, and said he would continue to collaborate with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to dismantle the government that succeeded them, considering previous disagreements.
He said opposition parties should oppose bills that are presented to Parliament by Muhyiddin ‘s government if a vote of confidence is not permitted to be tabled.
Having led Malaysia for 22 years until 2003, Mahathir came out of retirement to link hands with longtime rivals to overthrow then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who now faces allegations of wrongdoing mainly linked to the suspected theft of billions of dollars from the sovereign fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The Mahathir-Anwar-led multi-ethical alliance scored a stunning victory in the 2018 election, for the first time since Malaysia’s independence from British colonial rule, toppling Najib and dumping Umno out of power.
Najib, who was co-founder of 1MDB, refuted any wrongdoing. In fact, prosecutors dismissed money laundering charges against Riza Aziz, Najib’s stepson, linked to 1MDB, after agreeing to a settlement that officials said involved retrieving US$ 107.3 million from overseas funds.