Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was weak and could not punish PAS and Umno leaders in his administration as he needed their support to keep the Perikatan Nasional government intact.
Dr Mahathir claimed in an interview with Malaysiakini that Muhyiddin did not even dare name a deputy prime minister for fear of antagonising the two parties.
Muhyiddin appointed four senior ministers in lieu of a traditional deputy after PN seized control of the government in March after the Pakatan Harapan administration collapsed due to Dr Mahathir’s resignation.
“He is very weak. He depends on Umno and PAS. If he takes action against Umno and PAS, they will withdraw their support and he will collapse,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said this was why Muhyiddin has remained silent over recent controversies involving ministers and deputy ministers from the two parties.
The former PM was referring to Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who failed to perform his mandatory 14-day Covid-19 quarantine after returning from Turkey, among others.
Other recent scandals involving PAS and Umno leaders include PAS MP Nik Muhammad Zawawi Salleh who claimed the Bible was “distorted” and Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin who accused Sabahan student Veveonah Mosibin of being a fraud.
However, Dr Mahathir appeared to contradict himself in the same interview when he said PAS and Umno were as weak as Muhyiddin as the two needed him to remain in power.
“So they are in a difficult position. If they cause his (Muhyiddin’s) collapse, they will go down too. That is why they have to support Muhyiddin,” he said.
He claimed this still allowed them to dictate terms to Muhyiddin.
Dr Mahathir went on to accuse Muhyiddin of abandoning Bersatu’s principles in order to consolidate his power.
Dr Mahathir co-founded Bersatu in 2016 together with Muhyiddin and others but lost control of the party after his unforced resignation as the PM in February.
Bersatu revoked his membership shortly after and he went on to form yet another political party.