PPBM still part of PH, Dr M insists

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks in a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya.

PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today insisted that his party PPBM remains part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which fell from federal power in February.

In a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here, he said PPBM was involved in many of the country’s political changes, including the change in state governments.

However, he said the actions of PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin had not gone through due process.

“The PPBM Supreme Council never decided to leave PH,” he said.

Citing a leaked audio clip of the last Supreme Council meeting before the change of government, he said it was clear that Muhyiddin had given him a week to decide on the party’s direction as its chairman.

“But before the one-week period, he took action as if he was not in PH. This goes against the party constitution and (any) approval by the PPBM Supreme Council.”

Likewise, he said, PPBM’s act of joining the Perikatan Nasional coalition was against the party’s constitution as well.

Accusing Muhyiddin of “taking over” PPBM, he said the party had been set up to fight the previous “kleptocratic” administration.

“After we struggled and gained victory with our partners in PH, Muhyiddin went behind the party’s back and its struggles to work with the people we sought to topple.”

The 35-minute press conference was also attended by top PH leaders including DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, as well as Shafie Apdal, the president of PH’s Sabah-based ally Warisan.

However, PH chairman and PKR president Anwar Ibrahim was absent.

“He sent the statement but he is unable to attend,” Mahathir said when questioned by reporters.

He also said Anwar would be party to a joint statement issued by the opposition as they were not allowed to hold a press conference after the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s royal address in Parliament this morning.

Meanwhile, he defended his right as an MP to table a motion of no confidence against the prime minister, saying Muhyiddin had changed his political stance without referring to PPBM and criticising his performance as the nation’s leader.

On whether he had the numbers to back the motion, Mahathir said he believed “good sense” would prevail once the wrongdoings of the present administration are exposed.

He also said that majority support was not something that could not change.

When asked if he would collect statutory declarations to show the king that Muhyiddin lacked the majority support of MPs, he said no.

He also continued his criticism of the shortened parliamentary sitting, saying he could not understand why the Dewan Rakyat was only allowed to convene for two hours.

Adding that the Parliament staff had done a good job of ensuring hygiene and social distancing among attendees, he said it would not have been a problem if the session had continued until evening, or even till night.

“People can eat, go shopping, but in the Dewan Rakyat, it is organised and we are not moving around, yet (the sitting) was not allowed (for a full day). Even if we sat for eight days as we did today, I would not see it as a problem.”

In a joint statement after that, Mahathir, PH component leaders, Warisan and Upko also praised Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah for his speech in which the ruler voiced concern that corruption and the abuse of power could affect development and ruin the country’s image.

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