Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stated that the delay in announcing Pakatan Harapan victory on the night of the historic May 9 polls was due to behind-the-scenes political "manoeuvrings" by Umno and PAS to entice Malay-Muslim representatives to crossover.
In an interview by the Mekong Review last month, the premier said that upon BN's shocking loss in the 14th general election, Umno and PAS were hoping to engineer a majority and form a Malay-Muslim government.
Mahathir said this was due to fear at the time that Harapan would not champion the position of Islam "as much as the previous government had".
"[…] so there was an idea that if the Muslims all came together, the new opposition was largely Muslim, with Umno and PAS, they could drag other Muslims (from our coalition), have the majority and form a Malay-Muslim government but they were advised against that.
"This was what caused the delay in announcing our election victory. We knew we had won by 8.30pm but we didn’t get the official announcement until about 2 am because, during that short period of time, there was a lot of manoeuvring, which was not visible to the people.
“We knew, and later we learnt even more about it," he was quoted as saying in the interview.
Hence, Mahathir, who is also Langkawi member of Parliament, said that the transition of power from BN to the new ruling coalition, while appearing smooth on the outside, "was not very smooth from the inside".
He added: "We had lots of difficulties, including attempts from within to reject our success, but in the end better sense prevailed."
When asked if he would name those from Harapan who were being persuaded to cross over, Mahathir declined.