One of the four MPs from a breakaway faction of Bersatu who backed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s refusal to work with “corruption-tainted” Umno leaders has signed a statutory declaration to support Anwar Ibrahim’s quest for the top post, MalaysiaNow can reveal.
The individual is Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, who resigned as education minister on Mahathir’s instructions at the beginning of the year, less than three months before the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government.
Maszlee is now part of Pejuang, the party formed by Mahathir after the former leader was sacked from Bersatu.
“Maszlee’s act will complicate his ties with Mahathir. The last time Maszlee got an earful from his former boss, he resigned from the Cabinet,” a source close to Bersatu who is closely linked to the former prime minister told MalaysiaNow.
The revelation of Maszlee’s political swing to Anwar comes a day after he threw his support behind Mahathir’s effort for a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
It also comes on the back of an explosive revelation by MalaysiaNow yesterday that two former top government leaders who are facing a string of corruption charges had written to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to express their support for Anwar’s plan to topple the federal government.
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Former prime minister Najib Razak and his former deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who face 79 corruption charges between them, had written a letter to the king expressing support for Anwar while remaining vague on the other Umno MPs whom they claimed would join them.
“Maszlee’s act will complicate his ties with Mahathir.”
Anwar, in a separate letter to the king, claimed he had the support of MPs from PH and Umno as well as “several individuals”.
A check by MalaysiaNow however revealed that Maszlee was the sole “individual” who signed a statutory declaration confirming his support for Anwar.
When contacted, Maszlee refused to comment, asking that his press aide be contacted instead. MalaysiaNow is awaiting a response.
Maszlee, 46, joined Bersatu just two months before the 2018 general election.
The former lecturer was immediately propelled into the Cabinet by Mahathir, a move the former prime minister would later regret as seen in his call on Maszlee to vacate the post early this year.
But Maszlee said he remained loyal to Mahathir despite the episode.
“I have undeniable loyalty to him, to the party and to the government. Whatever decision I have made, as advised by the prime minister, is in the best interest of the country,” he said when announcing his resignation on Jan 2.