Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad in a televised address on Wed (26 Feb) expressed his desire for a non-partisan government, marking the first time he had publically spoken on matters surrounding his resignation just three days ago.
The resignation, said Dr Mahathir, was “a means to an end” — namely the country’s betterment — as he feared the prospect of forming a government with UMNO, a component party of the Barisan Nasional alliance that governed Malaysia for 61 years prior to its defeat to Pakatan Harapan in the 14th General Election in May 2018.
However, he said that he was willing to accept those who would leave UMNO to join other political parties.
Dr Mahathir said that many of the country’s politicians are currently prioritising their own political interests at the expense of neglecting bigger issues currently plaguing the nation such as health and the state of the economy.
Touching on the issue of who is next in line to become Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir reiterated his promise to resign to let the Dewan Rakyat choose his successor.
“If it is true that I have support, I will return. If not, I will accept whoever is chosen,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s resignation came on the heels of swirling rumours last weekend regarding certain factions in the Malay-centric Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) parties attempting to form an alliance with UMNO and other opposition parties in a bid to establish a new government.
Dr Mahathir has since resumed his duties as the interim prime minister after being asked by Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah — Malaysia’s king and head of state — to stay on.
Reuters reported yesterday that Dr Mahathir had reportedly mooted the idea of a unity government to the chiefs of Malaysia’s main political parties, both from the PH and BN coalitions.
“There won’t be any political entity. We might be a government of no parties,” said one of Reuters’ sources.