KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to quit as prime minister and chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) on Monday stemmed from being hounded by the party’s supreme council members who wanted to exit from Pakatan Harapan and form alliance with Umno and Pas.
Bersatu supreme council member Datuk A. Kadir Jasin in his blogpost said Dr Mahathir had on Feb 21 received full backing from PH presidential council to continue serving the country as prime minister until Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit in November, where he would then plan to hand over the premiership to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Dr Mahathir had set his mission on getting the country back on its feet following the Covid-19 outbreak and other mess that was left behind by the previous administration, he wrote.
“However, his happiness was short-lived. On the morning of Feb 23, his party held a meeting for its supreme council members where he was jolted by constant pressures form a majority of the members to exit PH and form alliance with Umno and Pas.
“Dr Mahathir explained in detail what transpired from the Feb 21 meeting (with members of the PH presidential council). He reiterated that he just couldn’t simply betray the trust that was given to him at the meeting.
“He pleaded repeatedly to the members to be given a chance, and that they would not force him to go against his principles and betray Anwar’s trust."
Kadir, who was seated next to Dr Mahathir, said he then got on his feet and requested for the council members to respect Dr Mahathir’s decision and refrain from pushing him.
“Dr Mahathir had pleaded to be allowed to keep his words. He repeated that he could only accept Umno not as a party, but on individual basis.”
Dr Mahathir announced that he quit as Bersatu chairman a day later. Subsequently, party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Bersatu left the PH coalition.
“With that, PH’s government collapsed,” he said, adding Dr Mahathir agreed to return as party chairman because the members were on “rayuan melutut” (on bended knees).