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|Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during an interview with Reuters in Putrajaya, Malaysia, December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng|
No other details were included in the statement.
His shock resignation came after speculation intensified that a new ruling coalition will be formed comprising his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and others.
Dr Mahathir was Malaysia’s fourth prime minister from 1981 to 2003, when he was heading UMNO.
He quit UMNO in 2016 and formed Bersatu the same year and assumed the role as its chairman.
He led Pakatan Harapan (PH) to a shock victory in the May 2018 polls, breaking Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule since the country’s independence.
In last August, Dr. Mahathir wrapped up his two-day official visit to Vietnam at the invitation of his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.
During his stay in Vietnam, the two sides issued a joint statement, under which they agreed to maintain frequent high-level contacts and increase discussions on strategic issues through the exchange of high-level visits, as well as regular exchanges among political parties, governmental and parliamentary delegations.
On the occasion, PM Phuc and the Malaysian PM witnessed the signing of a letter of intent on an MoU on cooperation in legal enforcement and search and rescue at sea, and the exchange of letters on the establishment of Malaysia-Vietnam friendship parliamentarians’ group./.