The big manipulator has been manipulated: Mahathir Mohamad, 94, resigned from his post as Prime Minister of Malaysia last week after a plot, more or less hatched by himself, got out of his control. But "Doctor M" was betrayed by one of his relatives, the former Minister of the Interior Muhyiddin Yassin: the king of the Malaysian Federation, whose system is modeled on that of the former British colonizer, asked Muhyiddin, Sunday 1st March, to form a new government.
The week just passed through Malaysia deserves to be classified in the Guinness Book of Records for jacket reversals, betrayals, alliance reorganizations and other reconstructions of dissolved leagues. It all started, a week or so ago, with a conspiracy led by relatives of Mr. Mahathir, including Mr. Muhyiddin: the purpose of the operation was to block the path of power to a certain Anwar Ibrahim, completely both rival and ally of the Prime Minister. Because Mahathir should soon, according to a tacit agreement between the two men, step aside for the benefit of Mr. Anwar.
The complex relationships between these two characters, reconciled since the victory of their political coalition in the 2018 elections, had deteriorated: the ancestor Mahathir no longer wanted to hand over to the "young" Anwar, 72, as he s was engaged there two years earlier. But when the one who was still the head of government realized that his allies were working to give birth to a coalition composed of the National Organization of Malaysian Unity (UMNO), the party of the former Prime Minister Najib Razak, unsuccessful in the last election, Mahathir Mohamad declared: " No way ! " He resigned.
A censure motion on the agenda
Mr. Najib is currently on trial in a bribery beyond belief: several billion dollars were allegedly siphoned from the sovereign fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) when he was in power. Mahathir, who instigated the ouster of UMNO two years ago, said that joining the "old regime" was inconceivable.
There followed memorable days, during which almost every half day brought its share of more or less shattering events. The caciques of the Alliance of Hope, the ruling coalition including the parties of MM. Mahathir and Anwar declared successively their support for the two men. The crisis benefits a third man. Because Muhyiddin, the future new prime minister, was meanwhile trying to rally as many members of the National Assembly as possible. With the help of the minister of economics, Azmin Ali, now denounced as a "Traitor" by Mr. Anwar since he was a member of his party, the People's Justice Party (PKR).