“The letter has been sent to His Royal Highness the King at 1 p.m.,” Mahathir’s office said in a statement.
Mahathir’s party, Bersatu, also quit the ruling coalition, its president, Malaysian home minister Muhyiddin Yassin said on Facebook.
The fate of Malaysia’s ruling coalition had been in doubt after surprise weekend talks between it and opposition groups on forming a new government that would exclude Mahathir’s anointed successor Anwar Ibrahim.
On Sunday, Anwar had accused Bersatu and “traitors” in his own party of plotting to form a new government with the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the former ruling party ousted in 2018 amid graft accusations.
Sources said Bersatu and a faction in Anwar’s party met officials from UMNO and Islamist party PAS in efforts to form a new coalition.
The turmoil, amid growing fears about a spreading coronavirus, had spooked investors, driving Kuala Lumpur’s benchmark to a 10-year low, while the ringgit currency slid 0.7 percent to an almost six-month low, its sharpest drop in over three years.
By A. Ananthalakshmi and Joseph Sipalan