Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia's Prime Minister from 1981 before retiring in 2003, returned as Prime Minister in 2018.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on February 25, 2020

Malaysia’s 95-year-old Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has shocked the country by resigning yet he remains as Prime Minister and he may well remain Prime Minister into the future.

With the coalition party that Dr Mahathir led breaking apart, he had no alternative but to resign.

Then with the backing of rival political party leaders, the Malaysian King Abdullah of Pahang then requested Dr Mahathir, the world’s oldest Prime Minister, remain as Prime Minister for the interim.

Dr Mahathir, who also resigned as chairman of his political party, appears to have strengthened his hand.

A series of meetings held on Sunday removed a political party from holding power and blocked Dr Mahathir’s major rival Anwar Ibrahim from succeeding him.

The various political parties are holding meetings to try and form a new government.

“No one has the numbers, except Mahathir,” a source told Free Malaysia Today.

“He is already spoilt for choice. He can pick who he wants.

“Whether he would go for the block joined by Mohamed Azmin Ali and the so-called Malay block remains to be seen. But for now, DAP and Amanah MPs are Mahathir’s to keep,” added the source.

Dr Mahathir, who was Malaysia’s Prime Minister from 1981 before retiring in 2003, returned as Prime Minister in 2018.

Since Dr Mahathir resumed power, the country’s stock market has shed one-fifth of its value.

In the past 12 months, foreign investors have pulled a net $US3 billion out of the country’s equity market — an amount trumped in Asia only by the far larger South Korean market, Australian Financial Review reported.

With the coronavirus COVID-19 crippling the China economy, Malaysia’s main trading partner, the situation does not look like improving in the short-term for the 32.68 million population.

The economy of Malaysia is the third largest in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Thailand, and is the 35th largest economy in the world.