Responding to a claim that Mahathir had agreed with the party’s decision to leave PH but changed his stand at the last minute.
Mukhriz Mahathir denied that Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as PPBM chairman, had agreed in principle for the party to leave Pakatan Harapan, saying his father made it clear he was uncomfortable working with “kleptocrats”, compared to working with the then ruling coalition.
Mukhriz, who is PPBM deputy president, said this was proven by the fact that Mahathir had good ties with PH leaders and opted to remain in the opposition bloc in the Dewan Rakyat.
“As the supreme leader, Mahathir said he wasn’t comfortable with any form of cooperation with kleptocrats in Umno.
“He also reminded (the supreme council) that any decision made when emotions were high would lead to mistakes which would be regretted later. It was better to calm down,” he said at a ceramah last night streamed on Facebook.
Mukhriz was responding to a claim by PPBM information chief Radzi Jidin that Mahathir had agreed with the party’s decision to leave PH but changed his stand at the last minute.
Yesterday, Radzi said the decision to leave PH, formed after the 2018 general election, and to enter into a new coalition with other parties, was known and supported by Mahathir.
Radzi dismissed a claim by Marzuki Yahya, who was appointed PPBM secretary-general by Mahathir, that the decision to leave the coalition was never discussed.
Radzi said, in fact, the matter was deliberated for months.
“It was only at the last minute, when the plan was supposed to take place, that Mahathir took a different stand from the party,” he said in a statement yesterday. “The claim that the Supreme Council had never decided to leave PH is not true at all and is not supported by facts.”
Radzi said the climax of the issue was during the Bersatu supreme council meeting on February 23.
“Dr Mahathir did not agree and wanted to remain in PH, because it was decided on February 21 (at the PH presidential council meeting) that he could decide when he should resign as prime minister,” said Radzi.
Despite Dr Mahathir’s disapproval, the Bersatu MPs went on to meet BN and PAS MPs at the Sheraton Hotel in Petaling Jaya in a show of force.
The following day, after Dr Mahathir had resigned as prime minister, Muhyiddin announced Bersatu’s withdrawal from the coalition.
As for Muhyiddin’s decision to take Bersatu out of PH, Radzi said that the president was right to do so as after Dr Mahathir had resigned as chairman on February 24.
“After Dr Mahathir’s resignation, Muhyiddin automatically became the chairman.”
He said the Article 16.9 of the party constitution said the president must take over the chairman’s post after the latter’s resignation.
“Although, the Bersatu supreme council subsequently rejected Dr Mahathir’s resignation, there is no provision for Bersatu to take him back as chairman.”
Radzi also maintained that Hamzah Zainuddin is the party’s current secretary-general, not Marzuki, after the latter had released a statement using that designation.
Marzuki issued a statement as party secretary-general and claimed that PPBM had not taken any official decision to exit the PH coalition during the Feb 23 Supreme Council meeting.
Marzuki was expelled by the party in March, and Hamzah was appointed in his place a week later.
Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir are currently embroiled in a power struggle in the party as the 94-year-old wants the party to be back in PH.
Bersatu was formed in 2017 by Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin to take on Barisan Nasional in the general election. The group then joined PKR, DAP and Amanah to form PH.
After winning the elections in 2018, PH went on to form a new government with Parti Warisan Sabah. The PH government collapsed when Muhyiddin took Bersatu out and formed a new government with BN, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak.
Meanwhile, DAP organising secretary Anthony Loke denied Radzi’s claim that PPBM’s decision to leave PH stemmed from Mahathir being constantly pressured by PH leaders, especially DAP and PKR, to hand over the reins to Anwar Ibrahim.
Loke said such demands never existed.
“If he was really pressured, he would not still be with PH,” Loke said.