2020 will be remembered as the year that hope for Malaysia’s political future died amid a fierce tussle to form the government.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition, riven by internal strife and multiple defections, was unseated just 22 months after it won power in a shock victory at the 2018 general election.
In the space of just six days in February, the shortest serving administration in the country’s history was displaced following the resignation of Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and the ascension of his old ally Muhyiddin Yassin to the top job. In its place: the Perikatan Nasional coalition, comprising ex-UMNO, Bersatu and Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) members.
Despite a shaky majority and multiple attempts to call for a no-confidence vote in Parliament, Muhyiddin and PN remain in power. Here are some of the best quotes from Malaysia’s premiership race.
“It involves our former friends from Bersatu and a small group from PKR who has betrayed us.” PKR chief Anwar Ibrahim informing a prayer session of a developing plot to unseat the government.
“I would like to express my thanks, thanks to Allah, that I have been given the appointment.” Muhyiddin Yassin is sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.
"(Muhyiddin) is going to be in very great trouble. Because whatever chance we have to prove that it is not legitimate for him to be the prime minister, we will do that." Mahathir Mohamad pledging that he would seek to oust the Prime Minister at every turn.
“Just admit your true plans. Can you be honest? Why keep blaming me?” Former PM Najib Razak telling Dr M to stop blaming him for his resignation and the fall of PH.
“We have a strong, formidable majority. I’m not talking about four, five, six (seats), I’m talking about much more than that. With these numbers, Muhyiddin has fallen as PM.” Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, declaring – not for the first time – that he held a parliamentary majority. He has yet to become PM.
"This is clearly the work of a power crazy individual driven by selfish and egotistical motives with a pathological sense of entitlement as if the post of Prime Minister is his birthright.” International Trade and Industry Senior Minister Azmin Ali, once a close ally of Anwar, on the latter’s claims of a parliamentary majority.
"For Azmin to refer to as such is just to deceive himself. All Malaysians know how Azmin likes to climb on people to satisfy his greed.” PKR deputy strategic director Ramanan Ramakrishnan on the former PH stalwart’s claims that he was not behind the move to form PN and is “not ambitious” in politics.
“If the party says I need to be a part of the leadership, I don't think I can just dismiss them, that's why I'm still active.” Mahathir Mohamad, now 95, said he may be “forced” to run again by his supporters on account of his “name recognition”.
“I am touched by the stance of the MPs who support this budget, which also proves they have heeded the decree of His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who wished for the politicians to put aside their politicking momentarily so the budget can be passed without further disruption, as the nation struggles with the COVID-19 threat.” Muhyiddin Yassin sees Budget 2021 passed with surprisingly little resistance from the opposition.
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