World

Dr Mahathir and Anwar fight to be Malaysia's PM

The political marriage that was Pakatan Harapan (PH) has ended in divorce and the battle over who runs Malaysia has begun.

On one side you have Dr Mahathir Mohamad, two-time prime minister and current interim prime minister.

Challenging him is Mr Anwar Ibrahim, one-time deputy prime minister and a man who had been promised the top job.

After Dr Mahathir's shock resignation as prime minister onMonday and the collapse of the ruling PH coalition, the lines were drawn.

Dr Mahathir, at 94 the world's oldest leader, made the first move when he appeared on television yesterday to say that he wanted to form a unity government.

He said: "If allowed, I will try to form an inclusive government, not siding with any political parties.

"If I still have the support I will return. If not I will accept whoever is chosen."

BACKING

Mr Anwar then made his own move. Moments after Dr Mahathir's announcement, he held a press conference at his party headquarters and said he had received backing from three parties in the PH coalition to become premier.

Mr Anwar said the coalition had invited Dr Mahathir to a meeting on Tuesday, but after he failed to show, they decided to put him forward as their candidate.

"Since the attempt to topple the government last week, we have remained steadfast in defending the mandate of the Malaysian people," he said.

The Malaysian king, who has been asking the 222 MPs who they want as premier, could declare the winner.

But if neither Dr Mahathir nor Mr Anwar can command a clear majority, there is talk of a snap general election.

Alternatively, the King can also wait for the MPs to further realign themselves.

Dr Mahathir, Mr Anwar or somebody else? At this point, nobody knows.

WORLD