Mahathir Mohamad, re-emerged as a candidate for the post on Saturday after receiving support from the Pakatan Harapan (PH) ruling coalition.
In response to the statement that he had supported Muhyiddin Yassin, a former Deputy Prime Minister and the President of Mahathir’s own Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) party, the 94-year-old said he did not sign any statutory declaration in support of any individual, Xinhua news agency.
Mahathir said he had a meeting with the PH coalition on in the early hours of the day and was now confident that he has the numbers needed to garner majority support in the Lower House of Parliament.
“I am therefore prepared to stand as prospective candidate for Prime Minister,” he said in a statement.
Mahathir, the world’s oldest head of government, presented his resignation earlier this week, later accepted by King Abdullah Pahang, on condition that he continue as Interim Prime Minister until a new government is formed.
Mahathir had ousted then-prime minister Najib Razak, who has been linked to a multibillion-dollar scandal involving a government fund. The power tussle between old rivals 94-year-old Mahathir and 72-year-old Anwar has shaped Malaysian politics for decades, despite their unusual alliance to win 2018 elections based on a promise that Mahathir would one day cede power to Anwar.
Mahathir was prime minister from 1981 to 2003 and was part of the long-ruling party Barisan Nasional (BN). Anwar was his deputy but the relationship soured when Anwar was sacked in 1998 after a leadership dispute.
The history seems to be repeating itself after the recent events which still leaves the question of who will be the next prime minister or if new elections will be called.