1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Malaysian king appoints new PM, Mahathir 'betrayed'

March 1, 2020

Mahathir Mohamad has claimed majority support for his prime ministership just a week after resigning from the post. He has called for an emergency sitting of parliament.

Muhyiddin Yassinat at his swearing in
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Lee

Malaysia's former Interior Minister Muhyiddun Yassin was sworn in as the prime minister on Sunday after being appointed by the Malaysian king. This came after a week of uncertainty, following Mahathir Mohamad's resignation. 

Mahathir said he would call for an urgent parliamentary sitting to determine who had majority support. "I've been betrayed, mostly by Muhyiddin," he said.

Mahathir boycotted the swearing in ceremony, but held a press conference an hour before, flanked by his supporters. 

Mahathir said he felt betrayed by MuhyiddinImage: Imago Images/H. Berbar

The Malaysian palace announced that King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah believed Muhyiddin had the support of a majority of lawmakers. But Mahathir insisted that he had the support of at least 114 out of the 222 lawmakers.

The Malaysian royalty is largely ceremonial, but can name a prime minister who is likely to command a majority. 

Muhyiddin started his political career in the 1970s with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO). He served as deputy prime minister under Najib Razak, who was removed from office due to the 1MDB scandal. He then left UNMO and joined forces with Mahathir under the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which rose to power in 2018. 

Also a part of this alliance was Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir broke his alliance with Anwar he resigned last week. He had proposed a united government, which would have given him more powers.

Anwar and Muhyiddin both tried to consolidate power, with the latter getting the position of prime ministership. Mahathir and Anwar reunited on Saturday, but the king announced Muhyiddin as the new leader of the country. 

Around 200 protesters also gathered on Saturday night, to raise their voice against the king's decision. "We are going to see a man who does not have majority support become prime minister," Mahathir said. 

tg/aw (AP, AFP)