Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the one who started the move for Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) to leave Pakatan Harapan (PH).
The current Bersatu president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claimed that Dr Mahathir, however, made a U-turn and decided not to proceed with the move when the latter received support from PH for him to continue as prime minister.
Prior to such episode, Muhyiddin said Dr Mahathir was pressured by several quarters in PH for the latter to step down and make way for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be appointed as the country’s eighth prime minister.
“After the PH presidential council on Feb 21, 2020, decided to continue to support him (Dr Mahathir) as prime minister (during the then PH federal administration), he tried to convince Bersatu Supreme Council to (reverse its decision and) remain in the coalition.
“However, Bersatu supreme council had almost unanimously decided otherwise.
“Bersatu supreme council had come to such a decision after believing that the party was losing support from the Malays due to the action of several quarters in PH especially DAP,” Muhyiddin, who is the Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman, said in a posting on his official Facebook account today.
The Pagoh incumbent member of parliament claimed that Bersatu had decided to leave PH due to the action of several quarters in the opposition coalition, who were seen as failing to look after the sensitivity of Islam and people from different races in the country.
This, said Muhyiddin, was reflected in the outcome of the by-elections in Semenyih and Tanjung Piai when Bersatu candidates contested under the PH banner.
He said the result of the two by-elections showed a decline in support from the Malays towards Bersatu despite the party previously winning the two seats in the 2018 general election.
Muhyiddin also claimed decision by Bersatu to leave PH did not affect Dr Mahathir’s position as the prime minister since there were signed declarations by 138 members of parliament who supported him to continue holding the post.
The MPs who signed the declarations included federal lawmakers from Bersatu, PKR, Pas, Gabungan Parti Sarawak, Barisan Nasional, Parti Bersatu Sabah and Parti Warisan.
“I am one of the MPs who signed the declaration to continue to support him as prime minister.
Unfortunately, Dr Mahathir resigned on his accord.
“Following his resignation, according to Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution, a new prime minister shall be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong,” said Muhyiddin.
Muhyiddin said he did not recall stabbing Dr Mahathir in the back, as claimed by the latter.
“He (Dr Mahathir) mentioned that I had stabbed him in the back, but I wonder when did I do so. At the same time, he (also) did not inform me that he would be resigning as the Bersatu president and the prime minister, as well as other governmental positions.
“On the morning of February 24, I met him at his home. At that time, he did not disclose to me his intent to resign.
“When I went home, I received a letter from Tun Dr Mahathir informing me that he was resigning as Bersatu chairman, PM and from all government positions, of which a copy of the letter was also forwarded to Istana Negara.
“The reason given in Dr Mahathir’s resignation letter to me is that he no longer has the support of the party’s supreme council and therefore resigned because he was dissatisfied with Bersatu’s decision to quit PH,” Muhyiddin said.
He claimed to be stunned by Dr Mahathir’s revelations in the letter and added that he rushed to the former PM’s home to persuade him to retract his decision. He said he failed.
According to Muhyiddin, other leaders from PAS, Umno, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Parti Warisan also attempted to persuade Dr Mahathir and failed.
As Bersatu party president, Muhyiddin said he then chaired a special supreme council meeting to voice the party’s support for Dr Mahathir as PM; at the same time, president from PAS and Umno proposed for him to be nominated instead.
“I rejected that notion because the party’s decision was to support Dr Mahathir.
“Unfortunately, Dr Mahathir failed to obtain a parliamentary majority and a big portion of the MPs who had previously signed the SD decided to withdraw their support for him.
“It was at that time I was once approached by those from PAS and Umno who state their support for me as PM since they said this is the only way to save the country from uncertainty,” Muhyiddin said.
As a sign of respect, Muhyiddin said he met with Dr Mahathir to ask for the latter’s support.
“He said he was prepared to support me if I managed to obtain a majority support from MPs.
“Yet, he made another U-turn when he nominated himself as PM to go against me. So, did I stabbed him from behind? Was I traitorous?
“I am not a traitor,” Muhyiddin said.