On February 24, 2020, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced his resignation as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The announcement caused a political storm in Malaysia, with Tun Mahathir being the epicentre of the turmoil.
Additionally, with the pull-out of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), and the sacking of deputy president Azmin Ali and vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin of PKR, Pakatan Harapan has ceased to exist.
On the same day, Tun also quit as the Chairman of PPBM.
It was previously reported that Tun’s decision to quit – which came a day after the fateful meeting at the Sheraton Hotel on February 23 – was due to him not wanting to work with UMNO.
However, moments after his resignation announcement, Mahathir was brought back into office as the interim Prime Minister by the King while awaiting the appointment of a new prime minister.
Mahathir then made a rare television address to the people, revealing among others, that he was indeed ‘forced’ to step down as he disagreed to work with UMNO.
On February 26, Mahathir said he resigned because he would not accept UMNO (his former party that has long ruled Malaysia) forming a new coalition with his party – Bersatu. He said he was ‘OK’ to accept those who had left UMNO to join other parties but not the party itself, as this would put UMNO back in power.
Mahathir also said that if given the chance, he will try to establish a non-partisan national administration with priority accorded to national interest.
During this tough time in the nation’s political scene, it can be observed that Mahathir not only speaks for his party Bersatu, but also for other major parties in Malaysia.
From the ‘Influencer’ dependency data, Mahathir also controls the public perception towards DAP and UMNO. On the contrary, DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang did not give out many statements to the media during these chaotic times, appearing tenth in the ranks. Meanwhile, his son, Lim Guan Eng appears third.
As for UMNO, there was a difference of 186 statements between Mahathir and UMNO’s secretary-general Annuar Musa.
Besides that, the interim Prime Minister also appears rather active in PKR amidst the sacking of Azmin and Zuraida from the party; appearing second in the ranks after its President, Anwar Ibrahim. On February 26, headlines surfaced that Azmin and Zuraida have expressed their desire to join Mahathir’s party Bersatu, however there are no official announcements just yet.
In separate news, Mahathir returned as the Chairman of Bersatu. With all eyes now on Mahathir, what will be the fate of Malaysia?