Mahathir had agreed to PPBM pullout, says info chief

PPBM information chief Radzi Jidin says Muhyiddin Yassin has taken over the position of party chairman under the party’s constitution after Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s resignation.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as PPBM chairman, had agreed with the party’s decision to leave Pakatan Harapan but changed his stand at the last minute, information chief Radzi Jidin said today.

He said the decision to leave the ruling coalition, formed after the 2018 general election, and to enter into a new coalition with other parties, was known and supported by Mahathir.

Radzi dismissed a claim by Marzuki Yahya, who was appointed PPBM secretary-general by Mahathir, that the decision to leave the coalition was never discussed. Radzi said, in fact, the matter was deliberated for months.

“It was only at the last minute, when the plan was supposed to take place, that Mahathir took a different stand from the party,” he said in a statement today. “The claim that the Supreme Council had never decided to leave PH is not true at all and is not supported by facts.”

However, PPBM Supreme Council member Tariq Ismail said this evening that the reality of the party’s internal turmoil was that “traitors” had threatened to leave the party if Mahathir had not agreed to accept Umno as a partner.

The faction who wanted to form a government with PAS and Umno had threatened to leave PPBM, and the treachery had occurred “even after it was agreed upon that they would heed Tun’s advice on resolving PH’s internal problems”, he said.

Radzi said the party’s Supreme Council agreed to give Mahathir some time before announcing the decision agreed on at a party meeting on Feb 23.

The next day, Mahathir resigned as prime minister and as party chairman; party president Muhyiddin Yassin took over as acting chairman and announced PPBM’s exit from PH.

Radzi also disputed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s position as PPBM chairman, maintaining that Muhyiddin still held this position until a new chairman is chosen at the next party elections, according to the party’s constitution.

“At this moment, a date for PPBM elections has yet to be set,” he added due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Radzi said the Supreme Council did not have the power under the party’s constitution to reject Mahathir’s resignation. However, Tariq contended that the matter was a matter of  law, as the council had rejected Mahathir’s resignation.

Radzi also said all party leaders and members are subject to the constitution, and no one had absolute power in the party. He urged PPBM members to preserve party unity and to support Muhyiddin, who is prime minister, “to guide Malaysia out of the Covid-19 crisis and restore economic growth”.

He also maintained that Hamzah Zainuddin is the party’s current secretary-general, not Marzuki, after the latter had released a statement using that designation. Marzuki issued a statement as party secretary-general and claimed that PPBM had not taken any official decision to exit the PH coalition during the Feb 23 Supreme Council meeting.

Marzuki was expelled by the party in March, and Hamzah was appointed in his place a week later.

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