PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was aware, and had even supported, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) plan to leave Pakatan Harapan (PH) and form a new political coalition.
PPBM Information Chief Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (pix) disclosed that the former premier had only decided to change his stand at the eleventh hour, just as the plan was supposed to be taking place.
According to Radzi, Mahathir and other Bersatu leaders felt there was no longer unity within PH after the former was consistently pressured to set a date for him to resign as the premier, and that these insistent calls for a transition had caused discomfort within the party.
“Party leaders and members were also uncomfortable with DAP, and most wanted Bersatu to review its relationship with DAP. Hence, the movement to leave PH started.
“The peak of this effort was on Feb 23, when a Bersatu supreme council meeting was informed that Mahathir has received the majority support of the Dewan Rakyat, including from Umno, PAS, Warisan, GPS and some PKR MPs aligned to Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
“Through this support for Mahathir, the supreme council decided to leave PH and form a new coalition,” he said in a statement today.
However, Radzi explained that Mahathir disagreed with this decision and that he wanted to remain with PH after the coalition, on Feb 21, agreed to allow him to decide for himself when he wanted to resign.
He said out of respect, Bersatu agreed to give Mahathir some time for him to announce the decision to leave PH, although this never happen.
“On Feb 24, Mahathir announced his resignation as the prime minister and chairman of Bersatu. His excuse was he no longer has the support of the party supreme council,“ he said.
Radzi said, as such, claims that Bersatu supreme council had never made a decision to quit PH was absolutely untrue and are not supported by facts.
This is in response to the party former secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s statement on Thursday that the supreme council never made any such decision, and merely agreed to reject Mahathir’s resignation as the party chairman and that he is the sole candidate for prime minister.
Despite Mahathir’s last minute “u-turn”, Bersatu went on to leave PH and would form what is now the new Perikatan Nasional government.
The party has since been split into two, with one faction supporting its president and current prime minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, while the other supports Mahathir.