KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today denied an international news report that quoted him as saying that he would step down in three years.
“I did not say three years,” Free Malaysia Today (FMT) quoted him telling reporters at a Hari Raya open house celebration organised by Kumpulan Maju tonight.
He reportedly said that he only wanted to “correct the work” that is being done.
When asked about his meeting with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim earlier today, Dr Mahathir reportedly replied: “Nothing unusual”.
News portal Malaysiakini similarly reported Dr Mahathir as saying: “I didn’t say three years... but it is for corrective work.”
In an interview with US-based broadcaster CNBC yesterday, Dr Mahathir reportedly said that he “will not go beyond three years” as prime minister, amid the renewed spotlight on his succession plans for Anwar.
Speaking to the media agency in Bangkok, where he was previously attending the 34th Asean Summit, Dr Mahathir said he has made a promise that he would step down and that Anwar would succeed him.
When asked by CNBC if he would stay on in office to reduce Malaysia’s debt from 80 per cent of the gross domestic product to 54 per cent as previously reported, Dr Mahathir told the news outfit: “No, I will not go beyond three years.”
“As far as I’m concerned, I have made a promise that I will step down and that Anwar will succeed me,” he was quoted as saying prior to that.
Dr Mahathir previously said before the 14th general election last year that he would only be PM for two years.