PETALING JAYA: A breakaway PKR faction led by former deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali said today those who attempted to overthrow Dr Mahathir Mohamad mid-term were the real traitors to Pakatan Harapan.
The group of 11 made their response to accusations that they had betrayed PH by siding with a group attempting to form a new political coalition to take power.
The crisis resulted in Dr Mahathir resigning today as prime minister and as chairman of PPBM, the party he founded after leaving Umno in 2017.
Azmin’s group said the actual traitors was the group of people who put pressure on Mahathir out of their own interests instead of implementing policies to help the economic recovery of the nation.
“We were also convinced that the attempt to push Mahathir to set a date for the handover was a malicious move to make him a ‘lame duck PM’,” they said in a statement.
They said there were some Pakatan Harapan leaders who pressured Mahathir to do so during the PH presidential council meeting last Friday.
Under an agreement drawn up by PH before the May 2018 elections, Mahathir was to hand over the reigns to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim at an unspecified date.
This is why, they said, they decided to take “proactive steps” to ensure the “conspiracy to overthrow” the prime minister mid-term failed.
“And it was proven to be true as these people have realised their mistake, which is why they are now calling for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to finish his term,” their statement added.
The statement was signed by Azmin and 10 members of his group.
Azmin, who is MP for Gombak, and former PKR vice-president Zuraida Kamaruddin, MP for Ampang, were both expelled from PKR today.
Soon afterwards, 9 other MPs left the party and said they would form an independent bloc in the Dewan Rakyat.
They were Saifuddin Abdullah (Indera Mahkota), Baru Bian (Selangau), Kamaruddin Jaffar (Bandar Tun Razak), Mansor Othman (Nibong Tebal), Rashid Hasnon (Batu Pahat), Santhara Kumar (Segamat), Ali Biju (Saratok), Willie Mongin (Puncak Borneo) and Jonathan Yasin (Ranau).
Mahathir resigned earlier today as prime minister and as chairman of his party, PPBM, which he founded in 2016.
However, he was appointed interim prime minister by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong pending the formation of a new government.
His resignation came amid speculation of MPs from PPBM, Umno, PAS and others forming a new coalition.
Yesterday, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said there had been an attempt to betray Pakatan Harapan, and Azmin was singled out by another PKR leader as being the “betrayer”.