Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad sends resignation letter to king

FILE PHOTO: Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo - RC2NLD9VWSJ3
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FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia, July 15, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng/File Photo – RC2NLD9VWSJ3

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister (PM) Mahathir Mohamad has submitted a letter of resignation to Malaysia’s king, his office said on Monday, amid talk of forming a new governing coalition.

The fate of Malaysia’s ruling coalition had been in doubt after surprise weekend talks between it and opposition groups on forming a new government that would exclude Mahathir Mohamad anointed successor Anwar Ibrahim.

“The letter has been sent to His Royal Highness the King at 1 p.m.,” Mahathir’s office said in a statement.

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On Sunday, Anwar had accused Mahathir’s party and “traitors” in his own party of plotting to form a new government with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the former ruling party ousted in 2018 amid graft accusations.

Sources said Mahathir’s party and a faction in Anwar’s party met officials from UMNO in efforts to form a new coalition and possibly back Mahathir to serve out a full five-year term as prime minister.

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The tussle between old rivals Mahathir, 94, and Anwar, 72, has shaped Malaysian politics for decades and tension has persisted, despite their alliance to win 2018 elections based on a promise that Mahathir Mohamad would one day cede power to Anwar.