Year In Review 2020: Memorable quotes from Malaysia's premiership saga

Nicholas Yong
·Assistant News Editor
·4-min read

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.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks to media after leaving the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Anwar was questioned by police over the dissemination of a purported list of lawmakers supporting his bid to oust the government. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim speaks to media after leaving the police headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Anwar was questioned by police over the dissemination of a purported list of lawmakers supporting his bid to oust the government. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

“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.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin holds a folder after unveiling his new cabinet
Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin holds a folder after unveiling his new cabinet

“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.

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Mahathir said Friday that Malaysia's governing coalition isn't likely to call for early general elections due to political infighting and foresee his new ethnic Malay party to play the role of kingmaker in the next polls. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Kuala Lumpur, Friday, Sept. 4, 2020. Mahathir said Friday that Malaysia's governing coalition isn't likely to call for early general elections due to political infighting and foresee his new ethnic Malay party to play the role of kingmaker in the next polls. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

"(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.

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak. (PHOTO: Fadza Ishak for Yahoo News Singapore)
Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak. (PHOTO: Fadza Ishak for Yahoo News Singapore)

“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.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he has enough support from MPs to become prime minister but refused to hand over the list of lawmakers to police
Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he has enough support from MPs to become prime minister but refused to hand over the list of lawmakers to police

“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.

Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali reacts during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali reacts during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

"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.

Supporters of Anwar Ibrahim who heads the People's Justice Party (PKR), hold a banner during a solidarity in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia on May 16, 2018. Anwar Ibrahim has been repleased from custody after receiving a pardon from the Malaysia's King Sultan Muhammad V. (Photo by Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Supporters of Anwar Ibrahim who heads the People's Justice Party (PKR), hold a banner during a solidarity in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia on May 16, 2018. (Photo by Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

"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.

Mahathir launched an extraordinary outburst on Twitter after an attack in southern France saw three people killed
Yahoo News Malaysia file photo

“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”.

In this photo released by Malaysia's Information Ministry, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin poses for a picture at the parliament, in Kuala Lumpurf, Malaysia Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Malaysia's Parliament Thursday approved the government's proposed 2021 budget, throwing a political lifeline to embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin amid strong resistance to his nine-month-old leadership. (Zarith Zulkifli/Malaysia's Department of Information via AP)
In this photo released by Malaysia's Information Ministry, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin poses for a picture at the parliament, in Kuala Lumpurf, Malaysia Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. Malaysia's Parliament Thursday approved the government's proposed 2021 budget, throwing a political lifeline to embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin amid strong resistance to his nine-month-old leadership. (Zarith Zulkifli/Malaysia's Department of Information via AP)

“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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