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I won’t stay for full term, says Mahathir
Published on: Saturday, February 15, 2020
By: Bernama
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File photo from Bernama.
LANGKAWI: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Friday dismissed allegations and speculation linking him to attempts by certain quarters to keep him as Prime Minister for the rest of the electoral term. 

On the other hand, the elder statesman reiterated that he will keep his promise to hand over the post to his successor after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit which Malaysia hosts in November this year. 

Dr Mahathir’s statement was in response to claims and suggestions, as reported in a news portal Friday, that 138 MPs had signed statutory declarations (SDs) in support of him completing a full term as the Prime Minister. 

“Pakatan Harapan (PH) has the majority in Parliament today. This 138 figure is the work of others and I have no knowledge as to how they came up with this. 

“In other words, there must be PH support to get this figure,” he told reporters after performing the groundbreaking for the Villa Sirehan: Phase 2 project and a visit to the Rebungan Resort Langkawi in Ulu Melaka, here. 

Asked if he was aware of the SDs, the Prime Minister replied: “I hear all sorts of things. (Some are saying) PM for 20 more years… I am 94 years old, 95 in another few months, so quite impossible.

“I promised to step down after Apec, so I will keep to my promise. I am not involved with anything else (SDs), only the promise to step down and I will step down,” he said. 

Asked whether he felt talk over the Prime Minister power transition issue needs to halted, Dr Mahathir said the issue continued to be talked about as the subject was constantly the focus of the media.

“It’s the press (media), the press gets excited (over the transition issue), where there is controversy, there is news. 

“So to the press, if both (PKR President) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and I do not get along, for instance, the better for them to sell their stories,” he said. 

When asked, he said certain PH leaders tend to talk about the issue only because the media kept hounding them to comment on it. 

“The Pakatan Harapan leaders come out with statements (on PM power transition issue) because they were asked about it by the media, otherwise there will be none (statements).

In a statement on Thursday, Anwar said he had met Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya to discuss the transition plan for the post of Prime Minister.

Anwar also claimed that PAS, a group from Umno and a handful of PKR members were involved in efforts to gather signatures to support Dr Mahathir’s leadership until the end of the full term.

Anwar said Dr Mahathir was not involved in these efforts and in fact reiterated his firm statement that he would hand over power as promised.

Meanwhile, PAS on Friday said it was not out to curry favour with Dr Mahathir following its plans to table a motion of confidence in the Prime Minister’s leadership.

Rather, its President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the Islamist party wanted to “save the people”.

Hadi said through this motion, everyone will know which parliamentarian agrees or not with Dr Mahathir serving his term out as Prime Minister.

“This will allow MPs, not only from PAS and Umno, but also from Pakatan Harapan, to vote,” he said.

Hadi said he was aware that there were those who were afraid of PAS’ plans, adding the party would not be upset if the motion came to naught.

“What is important is that we want to save the nation. Not just Malays and Muslims, but the other races, too.”

Last weekend, PAS said it would table a vote of confidence in Dr Mahathir’s leadership in the Dewan Rakyat next month.

Its Deputy President, Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man, said this was to stop the bickering on whether Dr Mahathir had the confidence of the House “once and for all”.

Earlier Friday, Mahathir reiterated that he would keep his promise to hand over the post to his successor after the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit, which Malaysia will host in November.

Under a deal struck by the PH leadership before GE14, PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was to succeed Dr Mahathir as Prime Minister at an unspecified date after the coalition took over Putrajaya.

 



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