In second setback this year, Dr Mahathir loses party membership

Dr Mahathir (Bernama)

Dr Mahathir (Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been dismissed from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), the political party he founded in 2016

A letter signed by the party’s executive secretary Muhammad Suhaimi Yahya said that the party memberships of Dr Mahathir, Bersatu deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir, Bersatu supreme council members Dr Maszlee Malik, Amiruddin Hamzah, and Armada Bersatu chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman have been automatically nullified.

The letter said the five, who are all Members of Parliament, sat in the bloc which did not support the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Bersatu president/acting chairman, at the last Dewan Rakyat sitting.

However, in a joint statement, the five MPs disputed the automatic nullification of their membership in the party, saying it was against the law.

The nullification had denied them their right to explain and defend themselves, they argued.

They claimed that the letter on the nullification of their membership was signed by an individual who was not empowered to do so by the party Constitution.

In a media conference on Friday, Dr Mahathir said that where he sat during the one-day parliament sitting should not be the cause for his dismissal.

“There is no provision in the (party) constitution regarding where I sit. I can sit anywhere. I have done nothing against the constitution,” he said.

“Sitting with the opposition doesn’t mean I have left the party. I can sit anywhere in parliament.”

In May 2018, Dr Mahathir became prime minister after he led the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to an electoral victory.

But in February this year, he resigned after Bersatu, under the leadership of Muhyiddin Yassin left PH, prompting Dr Mahathir to resign as prime minister and triggering the collapse of the government.

Muhyiddin teamed up with Barisan Nasional (BN) and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) to form the new ruling government. He was sworn in as Malaysia’s eighth prime minister.

According to analysts in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir’s dismissal would consolidate Muhyiddin’s power in Bersatu. However, they ruled out that Dr Mahathir would give go away quietly.

Dr Mahathir served as Malaysia’s prime minister  from 1981 to 2003 and from 2018 to 2020.

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