Malaysia's king appoints Muhyiddin Yassin PM amid political crisis

Malaysia ex-PM Mahathir trumped as king appoints new prime minister
2 min read
29 February, 2020
Mahathir Mohamad's bid to retain his post as Malaysian prime minister has failed following a decision from the country's king.
Muhyiddin [C] will be sworn in as prime minister on Sunday [Getty]
Malaysia's king on Saturday appointed seasoned politician Muhyiddin Yassin as the country's new leader, trumping Mahathir Mohamad's bid to return to power after a week of political turmoil that followed his resignation as prime minister.

The appointment of Muhyiddin, who heads Mahathir's Bersatu party, will ironically bring back to power the United Malays National Organisation, which was ousted by Mahathir's ruling alliance in a historic vote in May 2018.

Bersatu pulled out of the alliance this week, leading to the government's collapse.

Mahathir quit to object to Bersatu's plan to work with UMNO, and several UMNO leaders, including disgraced ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak, are on trial on corruption charges.

Mahathir, 94, had struck an eleventh hour pact on Saturday to work with his former ruling alliance led by rival Anwar Ibrahim to thwart Muhyiddin's plan and appeared to be on the verge of a victory as more lawmakers rejoined his camp.

But the palace announced later in the day that Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah believed that Muhyiddin had the support of a majority of lawmakers.

Muhyiddin, 72, will be sworn in on Sunday.

The return of members of the UMNO party to government has raised concerns about the fate of ongoing legal proceedings against former prime minister Najib Razak, who is on trial for corruption charges.

On Friday, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas resigned from his post as it became clear that a new government would be formed.

Thomas, who was appointed by the now collapsed Pakatan Harapan government, had pursued the prosecution of Najib.

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