Malaysia’s leader-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday denounced “betrayal” in his ruling coalition, saying that some partners were trying to bring down the government and form a new one.
The comments came after senior figures from his coalition and opposition politicians met in a Kuala Lumpur hotel amid speculation they were seeking to form a new alliance that excluded Anwar.
“Even though there is no announcement tonight, the information I get… there is an attempt towards it (changing the government),” said Anwar, the presumptive successor to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.
“We were shocked today by developments, which for us is a betrayal because there has been a promise (to hand over power to me).”
Anwar is a lawmaker from the “Pact of Hope” coalition, which unexpectedly swept to power in 2018 and ousted a corruption-plagued government that had ruled Malaysia for more than six decades.
Mahathir, 94, agreed to hand power to Anwar if their coalition won but tensions have been rising in the government between competing factions.
The pair have a stormy relationship which has dominated Malaysia’s political landscape for over two decades.
During a first stint as prime minister in the 1990s, Mahathir sacked Anwar from government before he was thrown in jail after being convicted of sodomy. Anwar’s supporters say the charges were politically motivated.
The pair reconciled before the 2018 election.