Xinhua News Agency, Kuala Lumpur, February 27th (International Watch) How Malaysia's Political Dilemma is Solved
Xinhua News Agency reporter Lin Hao and Yu Wei
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir issued a televised speech on the 26th saying that if he has enough support, he is willing to re-appoint as prime minister and will work to form a government that transcends parties and focuses on national interests. On the same day, the former ruling Alliance of Hope announced that it had nominated former Deputy Prime Minister Anwar as the new Prime Minister.
Analysts pointed out that from the current situation, Malaysia's political situation is facing difficulties, whether it is Mahathir or Anwar as prime minister, or dissolution of the parliament to hold elections in advance, these programs are difficult to obtain the support of more than half of the lower house of parliament.
Mahathir shows attitude
Mahathir's televised speech on the 26th is his first public statement since he submitted his resignation on the 24th. He said he had promised to resign and let the lower house of parliament choose a successor, but "if I really still get support, I will come back."
Mahathir said he was accused of unwillingness to relinquish his position and craving power, but for him, positions and power are the means to an end, and the end must be for the good of the country.
Mahathir's Pakatan Harapan victory in the May 2018 general election. After becoming Prime Minister, Mahathir has repeatedly stated that he will hand over the post of Prime Minister to Anwar after a certain period of time, but has not set a specific date for the transfer of power, which has led to outside speculation.
On the day of Mahathir's resignation on the 24th, the indigenous solidarity party he belonged to announced his withdrawal from the Pakatan Harapan. Some members of the Pakatan Harapan Party, another member of the Pakatan Harapan, also withdrew from the Pakatan Harapan. Earlier reports said that Mahathir would abandon the Pakatan Harapan and form a new party with the former ruling coalition National Front led by the Malay National Unity Agency (UMNO), the Islamic Party, and some parties in Sabah and Sarawak. The ruling coalition, but he did not actually do so.
Mahathir explained in a televised speech that the withdrawal of the Indigenous Unity Party and some other lawmakers meant the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government. However, if Indigenous Unity Party supports UMNO, it means that the parties that lost in the last election will form a government and UMNO will become the largest party in the ruling coalition.
A multi-party coalition with UMNO at its core has long been in power in Malaysia, but serious corruption has damaged UMNO's reputation and led to its defeat in the May 2018 election.
Mahathir said he could accept former UMNO members who had withdrawn from UMNO and joined other parties, but could not accept UMNO's membership in the ruling coalition. He said that if allowed, he would work to set up a government that does not favor any political party and puts national interests first.
Mahathir served as Prime Minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. In May 2018, Mahathir led the Pakatan Harapan victory in the election as the leader of the opposition party, and he himself became prime minister again after 15 years.
Who can get parliamentary support
Although Mahathir has publicly called for a government beyond the party, he has not received the support of powerful big parties. Opposition parties such as UMNO and the Pakatan Harapan insisted on forming a government through a party alliance. UMNO also withdrew its previous support for Mahathir as prime minister.
The Pakatan Harapan government issued a statement after Mahathir said that he had previously invited Mahathir to re-establish the Pakatan Harapan government, but Mahathir refused to attend relevant meetings. As a result, the three remaining PAP parties decided to elect Anwar as the new prime minister. Anwar said at a subsequent press conference that it is necessary to wait for the head of state to decide who will form the government, and all political parties must respect this decision.
At present, the political forces that still publicly support Mahathir's presidency are only the minority members of the Indigenous Unity Party and the withdrawal of the People's Justice Party.
According to local media reports, Malaysia ’s supreme head of state, Abdullah, has completed a one-on-one interview with all members of the House of Commons on the 26th, but as of the press release, the results of the interview were not announced and no decision was announced.
Some local media analysts believe that from the number of seats currently held by various political parties, it is difficult to obtain the support of more than half of the members of the lower house of parliament, regardless of whether Mahathir or Anwar has become the prime minister or the dissolution of the parliamentary elections.
Azmi Hassan, a professor of political science at the Malaysian Polytechnic University, said that neither Mahathir nor Anwar had the support of more than half of the lawmakers, and Mahathir publicly called on all parties to support the formation of a government beyond the party for this reason. Whether to dissolve parliament for early elections or to appoint a new prime minister to stabilize the political situation, it is a difficult choice before Supreme Head Abdullah.