February 29, 2020 / 10:13 AM / a month ago

Factbox - "Malay first": Malaysia's Muhyiddin allies with nationalists to become PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Former Malaysian interior minister Muhyiddin Yassin will be sworn in as the country’s next prime minister on Sunday, after he secured support from a Malay nationalist party that sacked him in 2015.

Malaysia's Prime Minister Designate and former interior minister Muhyiddin Yassin waves to reporters outside his residence in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 29, 2020. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng

Here are some facts about Muhyiddin, 72, who is from the majority Malay Muslim community and once courted controversy in the multi-racial country by saying that he was Malay first.

* Muhyiddin is from the southern state of Johor, neighbouring Singapore, where he was chief minister for almost nine years.

* His father was an influential religious teacher in his hometown. Graduated from the University of Malaya in 1970 in Economics and Malay Studies.

* He is the president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), which he started in 2016 and is now chaired by Mahathir.

* Formerly he was with the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), the long-ruling establishment party that was defeated in the last general election. He joined it in 1971. Muhyiddin will be Malaysia’s 8th prime minister with support from UMNO.

* He was deputy prime minister between April 2009 and July 2015 before being sacked and thrown out of UMNO for questioning former Prime Minister Najib Razak’s handling of a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

* In 2010, he said: “I am a Malay first, I want to say that. But being Malay does not mean you are not a Malaysian”.

* In 2018, Muhyiddin was diagnosed with early-stage pancreatic cancer. Mahathir had taken charge of the home affairs ministry as he sought treatment.

* He tends to keep a low profile and a person who knows him well says he is very close to his family.

Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Ed Davies

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