Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says “politics is full of surprises’, and he springs one with his strongest endorsement yet of Anwar.
“I am willing to fully support him if that’s what the people want,” Mahathir said, in relation to his one-time deputy Anwar Ibrahim to be made the prime minister should Pakatan Harapan with the 14th general election.
The former premier, who now chairs the coalition, said it was waiting for the right time before announcing the choice of a prime minister, adding that it was a strategy using the “element of surprise” at the next polls.
“We will announce the name at a proper time. It can be now, or just before the elections. Or immediately after winning the elections. This is an option,” he told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation.
Mahathir said there was nothing to be surprised about over his support for Anwar.
“Nothing new. Before Anwar was against BN. He was against me. I accepted him into Umno.
“Politics is full of surprises,” he said.
Mahathir also said he is the “top dog” in Pakatan Harapan by virtue of his appointment as chairman of the Opposition coalition.
“I am one of the leaders but it is agreed that I am the chairman. I will chair the presidential council and to a certain extent in the hierarchy in Pakatan, I’m a top dog there, lah,” he said.
Mahathir was replying to a question whether his position was equivalent to that of prime minister designate.
“We can’t have a country ruled by three prime ministers,” he said when asked if all three of the leaders are on equal footing in the coalition.
“Now, there’s only one prime minister. There’s a need for a leader to lead the respective parties,” he said, adding there was no problem between him and Dr Wan Azizah in terms of hierarchy.
“Even in Pribumi, we have a chairman and a president, who is Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. But have you seen us fighting with each other? No,” he said.
Earlier at the press conference, Mahathir challenged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to a debate, adding it could serve as an opportunity for both of them to clear their names.
The Nothing To Hide 2.0 debate was proposed to be held on Aug 13 in Shah Alam.
Responding to questions about his proposed debate with Najib and comparisons to presidential debates or similar debates of opposing political leaders in Western democracies, Mahathir said, “It is similar to that. Since I was made the chairman of Pakatan Harapan, I am the equivalent of Najib [for the Opposition].”
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