Dr M Says Not Staying Full Term Unless Forced To

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Mahathir Mohamad has dismissed recent calls for him to stay on as prime minister until the end of the five-year mandate for Pakatan Harapan.

He said he would keep his promise to resign from the top post once the country is “on an even keel”.

“Unless they push me to a corner and put a gun to my head to continue to finish my term, I will step down,” he told reporters.

Firdaus Latif

“It can be two years, maybe three years, I do not know but we are working on that.”

Under a deal struck by the PH leadership, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim will succeed Mahathir as prime minister.

There is no time frame set for the transfer of power, but Mahathir has repeatedly said he wanted to stay not more than two to three years.

On Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali’s public plea for Dr Mahathir to serve out the full term, the prime minister said: “That is his opinion.”

Last night, a bloc of opposition politicians met with Dr Mahathir to voice their support for him to complete his full term in office, The Star reported.

The group comprised elected representatives from Umno, PAS and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS).

A source told the paper that among those in attendance were former Umno vice-president and defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein, PAS vice-president Samsuri Ahmad Mokhtar, PAS secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan and GPS chief whip Fadillah Yusof.

The report did not disclose where the meeting took place.

The group allegedly told Dr Mahathir that they have his back and he should finish his term without handing over the mantle to Anwar Ibrahim midway, the daily said quoting sources.

“The meeting was held on Tuesday night to tell Dr Mahathir that he has the opposition’s full support until the next general election and that they do not agree with him handing over the reins midway to Anwar or anyone else,” the source said.

A minister and a Pakatan Harapan top gun were also at the meeting after being called by Dr Mahathir.

A number of leaders contacted by The Star did not deny that the meeting took place.

The source said the objective of the meeting was to convey to Dr Mahathir to not change leadership mid-stream.

Save for PKR and Umno, parties such as GPS, Warisan and Amanah are behind Dr Mahathir and want him to finish his term.

According to sources, DAP lawmakers have yet to decide on the matter.

The opposition reps also proposed for a capable deputy prime minister to be appointed so the person could take over the top post if need be and to avoid a political crisis if Dr Mahathir has to let go of his post for whatever reason.

Prior to this, Dr Mahathir had allegedly met all the MPs separately, but last night was the first time they met in a group setting.

PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang had repeatedly and publicly backed Dr Mahathir to continue his term.

He had said the dominance of non-Muslim leaders in the ruling coalition made it necessary for Dr Mahathir to continue as prime minister.

Abdul Hadi said though Dr Mahathir is a leader of a minority party, the Bersatu chairman had said many things to defend Islam.

Abdul Hadi added Bersatu only had 11 seats but now has 23 after Umno lawmakers crossed over to the Malay party.

“Its position in the government is not strong. We acknowledge the matter, but what is Dr Mahathir going to do? Surely, he has his strengths.

“He defends many things, but the party seem to be isolated and that is why we have to take the same stance as Umno and defend Dr Mahathir as prime minister until his term ends,” he was quoted saying by PAS organ Harakah Daily.