Malaysian Prime minister Resigns.Leave a comment / By: chriscrown / 25 February, 2020 01:08:17AM
Malaysian Prime Minister Resigns But Asked To Stay As Interim Leader
Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian prime minister resigns amid political turmoil in the Southeast Asian country. He abruptly submitted his resignation to the Malaysian King on Monday, 24th February. The resignation came as his party aborted the ruling coalition. Mahathir is 94 years old, and the move appears to be a plot to remake the government. Upon the announcement of his resignation, the country's monarch asked him to stay on as interim leader.
The prime minister's move to resign was birthed by his party's decision to form a new government without Mahathir's presumptive heir, Anwar. In 2018, Mahathir Mohamad joined forces with Anwar Ibrahim to oust a governing party to which they were once members. Mohd Zuki, the country's chief secretary, broke the news that the embattled prime minister will continue on the interim capacity.
According to James Chin, the director of the Asia Institute Tasmania at the University of Tasmania, Mahathir Mohamad can't lose irrespective of how this ends. Looking at the way that rival political blocs are furiously forming a new alliance, one begins to wonder if Mr. Mahathir has overplayed his hand. He may be one of Asia's shrewdest politicians, but change is the one thing he can't prevent from happening.
According to the Reuters news agency, the Malaysian prime minister also resigned from his party, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. The party also announced that they are quitting the ruling government coalition, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope). This has cast a huge cloud over the future of the partnership.
Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir's anointed successor, has said the prime minister has no plans to partner with anyone from the former coalition that he defeated. Anwar is accusing the people within his party as the cause of the political turmoil facing the ruling party.
The Impact On The Nation's Economy
As the Malaysian prime minister resigns, analysts are saying it comes at the worst time for the country's economy. The prime minister's resignation has added headwind for the economy already shrinking under the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. With the resignation, the imminent fiscal stimulus package has been thrown in disarray. Also, the Malaysian ringgit has been on a continuous depreciation path since the news of Mahathir's resignation. The Covid-19 outbreak is already taking a toll on both trade and tourism in the Southeast Asian country. The current political turmoil will further diminish investor's confidence.
In the past weeks, the government has been preparing a stimulus package to ameliorate the impact of the virus outbreak. Well, the resignation will certainly do more harm than good to the package. The political turmoil has also worsened the weakening of pressure on Malaysian assets. It has also weakened the exchange rate above 4.20 against the United States dollar.
The Political Uncertainty Ahead
With the resignation of the Malaysian prime minister comes a wave of uncertainty in the political landscape of the country. It is very difficult to determine the political direction henceforth. There is the possibility that Mahathir will form a new coalition with other parties in the opposition.
The interim prime minister only needs 112 out of the 220 seats and an alliance with the major party in the opposition. He once ruled the United Malays National Organization, and an alliance with them is a possibility. In another perspective, Anwar Ibrahim can decide to take that route, who knows?
If this political stalemate lingers for a long time, we cannot rule out the possibility of a fresh election in the country. A new coalition having Mahathir Mohamad at the helm is a more likely outcome. He is the most experienced politician in Malaysia, and predicting his next line of action can be difficult.
The Age Long Rivalry
The interim prime minister and his heir apparent Anwar Ibrahim have had a one of a kind relationship over the past years. Their complicated relationship has been on for decades. Anwar has been the chosen one to replace the then-prime minister until 1998 when he was charged and convicted with corruption and sodomy.
The Malaysian apex court later overturned his sodomy charges, but the corruption charges stood. Anwar was barred from running for any political office until 2008. In 2008 after serving his political ban, he was consequently charged with further sodomy charges. He was convicted and jailed in 2015.
In 2018, both Mahathir and Anwar put aside their differences to fight and defeat Najib and his UMNO party, which is the largest constituent in the Barisan Nasional coalition. Upon Mahathir's re-election, Anwar received a royal pardon allowing him to enter the political ring again.
With Mahathir's resignation, we wait to see how the Malaysian political system unfolds. It is a new dawn, and the future is quite unpredictable.
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