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Muhyiddin Yassin to be new Malay Prime Minister

Kuala Lumpur: Former Home Affairs Minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be sworn in on Sunday as the eighth Prime Minister of Malaysia, the National Palace said in a statement on Saturday following a week of political power struggles.

The surprise announcement from the Comptroller of the Royal Household, Ahmad Fadil Shamsuddin, said the King had agreed to appoint Muhyiddin as premier after receiving a list of nominees from party leaders and independent MPs, and deeming that he may have the majority support needed in Parliament, reports Efe news.

Muhyiddin will be sworn in at the National Palace at 10.30 a.m. on Sunday.

“(The King) said the appointment of the Prime Minister cannot be delayed for the sake and wellbeing of the nation… He believes this is the best decision for everyone and hopes this puts an end to the political crisis at the moment,” Ahmad Fadil said.

The political crisis was sparked by the stepping-down of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister and Bersatu party chairman on Monday. The King had accepted his resignation and had appointed him as interim premier until a new government was former.

The palace’s announcement of Muhyiddin as the new leader came hours after Mahathir said he had the numbers needed to be the next Prime Minister, and the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition announced its support for him.

Mahathir’s Bersatu party on Friday nominated its president Muhyiddin as its prime ministerial candidate.

In a twist on Saturday, Muhyiddin also declared himself Bersatu chairman, even though Mahathir returned to that position during the week.

Bersatu’s Secretary-General then released a statement refuting Muhyiddin’s claim, saying the only person who has absolute power to lead the party was chairman Mahathir.

On Saturday morning after a meeting with leaders of the PH coalition, Mahathir said in a statement that he was confident he had “the numbers needed to garner majority support in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament).”

“I am therefore prepared to stand as a prospective candidate for Prime Minister,” he said, adding that this would be conveyed to the King.

In a separate statement, the PH presidential council backed Mahathir, saying it was giving its “full support” to him as a prime ministerial candidate.

However, a day earlier, the PH had said it was backing Anwar Ibrahim of the People’s Justice Party for the job.

On Saturday, Anwar went to the King to present a letter of statement that PH was nominating Mahathir over him “to prioritize the nation above personal agenda”, he told reporters, according to local media.

Muhyiddin was backed by Bersatu, and others including Barisan Nasional, which Mahathir and the PH coalition ousted in a shock victory in the March 2018 election after 60 years of rule, along with then-prime minister Najib Razak who now faces 1MDB corruption allegations.

Anwar had been the promised successor to Mahathir after the two old foes banded together ahead of the 2018 polls.