Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali dismissed a question about claims that he was the middleman between PAS and Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad by attempting to shift the focus to economic issues.
“Focus on the issue of the economy. Now we are facing some issues with the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
“It’s still ongoing so let us focus to rebuild the economy, so now we are preparing our stimulus package. Let us concentrate on that,” Azmin said when met by reporters after attending a Chinese New Year open house with Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin in Ampang last night.
He was asked by a reporter to respond to former senator Ezam Mohd Nor who had claimed earlier that Azmin had told him that he was acting as a middleman between PAS and Mahathir.
In his speech at the event, Azmin had said something similar and urged everyone to stop politicking in order to support Mahathir in rebuilding the economy in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said many sectors such as the tourism, aviation and logistics industries have been affected by the outbreak and as such the government plans to release an economic stimulus package soon.
“Stop politicking as there is already too much politicking in this country.
“Please support Dr Mahathir to lead the country and rebuild the economy following the novel coronavirus outbreak.
“Let him lead so that after Apec, Malaysia can emerge as a country that can compete again,” Azmin said.
Mahathir had said that he would step down as prime minister after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meeting in November.
Azmin has often rallied support for Mahathir. Last October, he had urged Mahathir to remain as prime minister for a full term, a sentiment which has been adopted by PAS, which intends to table a Dewan Rakyat vote of confidence in Mahathir.
The PAS motion is viewed as an attempt to block Anwar’s ascent. Under an agreement struck before the 14th general election, Mahathir is supposed to hand over power to Anwar although no date was specified.
Meanwhile, Zuraida took a jab at her fellow party member Selayang MP William Leong in responding to his statement earlier today.
Calling for a “Plan B” to ensure Anwar becomes PM, Leong had suggested demonstrations could be a possible reaction to what he claimed was Mahathir returning to his “dictatorial” ways.
“It’s okay as it’s a democratic world. Anybody can do anything they like but it’s sad to see that we have become the government and we still want to go around the streets.
“Looks like they still cannot behave like the government of the day,” Zuraida told reporters as she was leaving the event.
The event was also attended by PKR vice-president Tian Chua and Gerakan president Dominic Lau.
Azmin had earlier welcomed Lau to the event in his speech, though he followed it up by joking that the media will start publishing speculative pieces soon.
It was previously rumoured that Azmin may leave PKR to join Gerakan due to the growing rift within PKR between him and party president Anwar Ibrahim.
Related report: Feb 17, Ezam: Azmin Was Middleman for PAS and Dr M