The Malaysian government has been thrown into serious turmoil earlier today as Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad submitted his resignation to the country’s king.
The prime minister’s office confirmed the decision in a short statement, saying the resignation letter was sent at 1 p.m. local time (0500 UTC). Mahathir also quit as chairman of his Bersatu Party.
Minutes before the resignation, Bersatu confirmed it had pulled out of the four-party Alliance of Hope coalition that unexpectedly ousted the government of former leader Najib Razak in 2018.
Mahathir’s decision follows a weekend of political wrangling after it was reported on Sunday night that his party was planning to form a new government that would exclude his anointed successor, Anwar Ibrahim.
The king accepted Mahathir’s resignation after meeting with him later on Monday, Chief Secretary Mohd Zuki Ali said in a statement.
“However, His Highness has given his assent to appoint Mahathir Mohamad as interim prime minister, while waiting for the appointment of the new prime minister. Hence until then, (Mahathir) will manage the country’s affairs until a new prime minister and cabinet are appointed,” Mohd Zuki said.