Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he was not surprised by threats from several Umno leaders to quit the ruling bloc, saying he had advised Muhyiddin Yassin against forming an alliance with them.
“You depend on them. If they pull back, you are finished. But he said he could handle the problem,” Mahathir, whose resignation last February triggered a political crisis which saw Muhyiddin forming a new government in the following month, told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya today.
Mahathir said his only advice to Muhyiddin now would be to resign.
Following his resignation, Mahathir had proposed the formation of a unity government transcending party lines.
However, Umno said its MPs would only join a new government en bloc, leading to a power vacuum which lasted for days.
A group of Umno leaders aligned with party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak has been threatening to bring the party out of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
Yesterday, the Umno Supreme Council said a motion on this would be debated at the party’s general assembly late this month.
Mahathir today also questioned the Registrar of Societies’ decision to reject an application to register his Pejuang bloc as a political party.
Pejuang is made up of a small group of MPs and former Bersatu leaders who broke ranks with Muhyiddin last year.
Mahathir said they would appeal against the decision, adding however that the home minister has the power to decide.
“As such, it has gone from an administrative matter to something that is political,” he said.
He also accused the authorities of bias, saying the registration for the PN coalition was approved within three days.