A non-partisan government will essentially be a “Mahathir government”, said Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders on Wed (26 Feb) in opposing interim Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s push for a unity government.
Yeo Bee Yin, the National Assistant Publicity Secretary of DAP, said in a Facebook post on Wed that Dr Mahathir’s Cabinet lineup in his proposed unity government will “likely include the same personalities who triggered the current crisis, as well as MPs from UMNO and PAS”, in addition to sidelining DAP and other parties in the process.
“Effectively, it is a Tun government and not a PH government. The promises of the PH manifesto will not be fulfilled,” she said.
Ms Yeo — who is also Malaysia’s Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change — also claimed that the Pakatan Harapan leadership had invited Dr Mahathir to attend the PH presidential council meeting to discuss its concerns over his proposal, but he declined to do so.
Following that, the PH top brass decided to “defend the people’s mandate to the PH government” by deciding to nominate Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim for Malaysia’s premiership, she said.
“We call upon all Malaysians to support the nomination of Anwar Ibrahim as the 8th PM of Malaysia, to respect the mandate given in the 14th GE and to ensure continued stability for the nation,” added Ms Yeo.
DAP previously said it would support the renomination of Dr Mahathir as PM.
Party chief Lim Guan Eng told a press conference at DAP’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Mon evening that Dr Mahathir’s resignation — from both the PM and Bersatu party chairman posts — was sparked by his refusal to work with UMNO, a component party of the previous ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.
Mr Lim said he was “surprised” when Dr Mahathir had informed him of his intention to resign from the premier post.
However, Mr Lim said that Dr Mahathir had “clearly stated that he cannot work with Umno when we worked so hard to reject Umno successfully in the 2018 general elections”.
“This consistency and principled stand in rejecting a corrupt Umno should be supported by all Malaysians,” he said, adding that this is “the first time that a Malaysian prime minister is prepared to resign on principle to uphold integrity and combat corruption”.
Dr Mahathir’s resignation came on the heels of swirling rumours circulating last weekend regarding certain factions in the Malay-centric Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the PKR parties’ attempts to form an alliance with UMNO and other opposition parties in a bid to establish a new government.
PKR cadres Azmin Ali and Zuraida Kamaruddin were sacked from the party for “betraying” the party, Malay Mail reported.
Dr Mahathir in a televised address on Wed evening said that his resignation 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 PM, Dr Mahathir reiterated his promise to resign to let the Dewan Rakyat — or the lower house of the country’s Parliament — choose his successor.
“If it is true that I have support, I will return. If not, I will accept whoever is chosen,” he said.