Malaysian king summons Mahathir, who’s trying to be PM again
Kuala Lumpur, Feb. 27 (PTI/AP): Malaysia’s king summoned Mahathir Mohamad to the palace Thursday, fueling talks he may have majority support to return as the next prime minister after his abrupt resignation and the collapse of his ruling coalition this week.
Mahathir didn’t speak to reporters as he was driven into the palace grounds. The meeting came after the king interviewed lawmakers to determine who they support as prime minister and if they want fresh elections.
A comeback as prime minister for a third time will be a remarkable feat for Mahathir, the world’s oldest leader at 94, after nail-biting twists, turns and machinations in the political drama that unraveled over the weekend.
A failed bid by Mahathir’s supporters to form a new government without his named successor Anwar Ibrahim plunged the country into a political limbo.
A total of 37 lawmakers, led by Mahathir’s Bersatu party, left the ruling alliance, depriving it of majority support and sparking a crisis less than two years after it ousted a corrupt-tainted coalition that had ruled for 61 years.
The king dissolved the Cabinet but reappointed Mahathir as interim leader. The result was a renewed battle between Mahathir and Anwar, whose political feud has stretched more than two decades.
Mahathir said Wednesday he had quit to show he wasn’t power crazy and because he doesn’t want to work with the former corrupt regime that he had ousted in 2018 polls.
Despite a pre-election pact to handover power to Anwar, he said Parliament should pick the next leader and that he would form a nonpartisan government if he is chosen again to helm the government.