Dr Mahathir ready to be PM again

TOKYO, 6 June 2017: 

Former Malaysian prime minister, the 91-year-old Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, today said he would consider taking up the post again – but only if there was no acceptable candidate after an opposition election victory.

Dr Mahathir served as prime minister for 22 years until he stepped down in 2003. But he remained influential and has over the past couple of years emerged as a leader of opposition to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Mahathir told a business forum he did not want to be prime minister though he was often asked about the possibility, adding that he would consider leading the opposition into an election due by the middle of next year, if all opposition parties agreed.

“If there is really no candidate to become prime minister should the opposition win, then maybe for a short while I might try to take the job. But only on condition that everybody agrees.”

Dr Mahathir, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister, earned a reputation as a no-nonsense authoritarian with little time for dissenters promoting liberal values.

He quit the ruling United Malays National Organisation party last year in response to the graft allegations surrounding his former protégé, Najib. Mahathir formed a new party and joined the opposition coalition aiming to oust Najib.

The country’s most prominent opposition politician Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is in prison serving five years for a sodomy conviction that he says was politically motivated.

Government sources have told Reuters a general election could be held later this year in a bid to prevent Mahathir’s new party from gaining ground with the majority ethnic Malay Muslim community, the core voter base for Najib’s coalition.

Leave a Reply