Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad Resigns Abruptly Amids Political Turmoil

Middle East & Asia News

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition has tendered his resignation to the King Monday 24th of February 2020, his office said in a statement.

The 94-Year-Old Prime Minister's submitted his resignation to the king at 1 p.m. local time on Monday after talks by some members of his party members and opposition groups on forming a new government to prevent the transition of power to his hand-picked successor Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir Mohamad also resigned as chairman of his own political party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.

The world's oldest prime minister, and Anwar 72, joined forces in 2018 to win the election and oust the ruling alliance at that time, on the condition that Mahathir would cede power to Anwar.

It’s unclear whether the Malaysian king will accept Mahathir’s resignation and what will happen to the ruling coalition that he led, Pakatan Harapan.

According to analysts, the king could decide if any political group has a parliamentary majority, otherwise, the king may dissolve the parliament for snap elections. Anwar's wife Wan Azizah Ismail is the deputy prime minister of Malaysia and would become the highest government official if Mahathir's resignation were accepted.

The political intrigue could bring fresh tumult to Malaysia, and deter investors looking for stability at a time when the global coronavirus epidemic and trade wars are hurting growth. Malaysia’s benchmark stock index has already dropped more than 20% from its peak in 2018 and is set to enter a bear market for the first time in 12 years.

The Malaysian ringgit slumped to the lowest in almost six months amid the political turmoil, trading 0.8% down at 4.2242 per dollar as of 3:02 pm local time.