Malaysia PM resigns, plunging country into turmoil
Iran Press TV
Monday, 24 February 2020 9:42 AM
In a shock move, Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad says he has submitted his resignation to the country's monarch, leaving the fate of the government in doubt amid talks on the formation of a new coalition administration.
Mahatir's office said in a statement on Monday that "he letter has been sent to His Royal Highness the King at 1 p.m."
It is not clear if the king will accept the resignation.
Meanwhile, Reuters cited three sources familiar with the matter as saying that Mahatir also quit his Bersatu Party after resigning as prime minister.
The PM's party first quit the governing coalition over the weekend following political wrangling between the bloc and other coalition members.
Mahatir's party was aiming to exclude the premier's anointed successor, Anwar Ibrahim, 72, from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) –Alliance of Hope – governing coalition.
Anwar, a senior political figure and president of the People's Justice Party (PKR), is considered as the country's most prominent political figure after Mahatir, and prime minister in waiting.
He was Mahathir's deputy when the latter was prime minister during his first stint from 1981 to 2003. Mahatir sacked Anwar in 1998 after they disagreed on how to curb a financial crisis in the country at that time.
Anwar was later sentenced to 15 years in jail on corruption and sodomy charges.
Mahathir reunited with Anwar ahead of the 2018 election to drive out the UMNO-dominated Barisan Nasional coalition, which had ruled the Southeast Asian country for six decades, in a surprise victory that led to the ouster of then prime minister Najib Razak.
After their victory, Mahathir, who had repeatedly promised to hand over power to Anwar, resisted setting a specific date for the transition.
Doubts grew over Mahathir's true intention to hand power to his rival when he said he had the energy and wanted time to steer the heavily-indebted country out of trouble first.
Then Anwar faced fresh allegations of sodomy by a former aide. He denied the claims, describing the allegations as "politics at its worst."
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