Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he is expecting opposition parties Umno and PAS to support changes proposed by his Pakatan Harapan administration in Parliament.
Amid rumours of a tripartite cooperation proposal between his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and the two parties, Dr Mahathir admitted he has received their offers to support him, but he did not elaborate further.
“Yeah [Umno is] saying that [it will support me]. Even PAS is willing to work with me. I told them, if you want to work with me [then] support.
“In Parliament, when we do something, I think they should support not just opposed blindly,” he told a press conference after his address to the Ministry of Education.
Asked again to explain what kind of support he expects from both parties and whether he welcomes such a move, Dr Mahathir said jokingly that he is happy with such offers.
“Anybody supporting me, I feel like floating,” he replied laughing.
On Tuesday, Umno supreme council member Lokman Adam released an audio recording claiming that Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had attempted to convince party leaders on the need to work with Mahathir.
However, not all in Umno appear to be in favour of this, with deputy president Mohamad Hasan today advocating caution about the rumoured offer for a political collaboration to safeguard Malay interests.
“To us, who are being wooed, don’t be too smitten, feel too desired. Don’t ever be in a rush just because you’ve exchanged glances once or twice.
“Lust is at times very dangerous,” he said.
PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, on the other hand, dodged the question during a press conference last night but had repeatedly pledged his support for Mahathir in the past amid claims that a no-confidence motion might be moved against the premier.
He also took a swipe at “someone who wants to become prime minister through the backdoor”, which is believed to be aimed at Mahathir’s designated successor, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
On Tuesday, a Singapore daily reported that Umno may throw its backing behind Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to serve out a full-term in an attempt to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s succession to the seat of power.
Citing unnamed party sources and a recording of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, The Straits Times said the Malay party’s top echelon are pushing to lobby the 94-year-old to stay on for the remainder of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government mandate instead of handing over the reins to PKR president Anwar as previously agreed.
Despite both Mahathir and Anwar stating that the transition plan would take place as agreed, speculation that it would not materialise continues to persist.
Last October, the Harapan secretariat had accused former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein of attempting to form a new government without DAP.
This came after Anwar advised Umno lawmakers not to be influenced by Hishammuddin and cave in to threats of prosecution.
Hishammuddin has denied the allegations.
However, Khalid Abdul Samad said Pakatan Harapan will not fall apart and will continue to manage the country while dismissing the Pakatan Nasional coalition.
Khalid, who is also federal territories minister, said PH chairman Dr Mahathir will not betray the coalition that he led to victory in the last election nor betray his legacy.
“I have been with Dr Mahathir in the cabinet for a year and I feel he will take care of his legacy that has improved since PH captured power.
“He will not betray the pact and I am confident of this. Now Dr Mahathir is the hero who has brought change by toppling a kleptocratic government
“He is being praised as someone who has saved Malaysia. What will happen if he dumped PH for Pakatan Nasional. What will the public say about him then?” he asked during an interview with Jom Channel last night.