Repeating promise to Anwar, Dr M says will go once Malaysia is on firmer ground

Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference after a roundtable discussion with international chambers of commerce at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre August 1, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference after a roundtable discussion with international chambers of commerce at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre August 1, 2019. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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PUTRAJAYA, Aug 1 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reiterated today that he will keep his promise to step aside for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim despite calls for him to serve out his full term.

Speaking at a press conference this morning, the world’s oldest elected official said the only way he would renege were if someone “put a gun” to his head.

However, he also qualified this by saying he would leave only when he considered Malaysia to be more stable.

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.”

“But I have given an undertaking that I will step down when I find the situation in the country has been put on an even keel and it can carry on from there. It may be two years, it may be three years but we are working on that,” said Dr Mahathir.

“Unless they push me to a corner, put a gun to my head and tell me to continue and finish my term, I will step down. I will keep my promise,” Dr Mahathir said.

He also admitted to a “secret” meeting between him and Opposition parties from the PAS-Umno alliance and Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) recently.

The PM said they met him to express their support for him but declined to say who was in the delegation and what was specifically discussed.

Instead, Dr Mahathir played off the meeting as an ordinary encounter by saying he tries to meet with “everyone” who goes to see him.

He also compared it to his engagement with the press.

“It’s just like how I see you,” he said gesturing to the journalist who asked the question.

“Sometimes, I don’t want to see you but I still have to see you,” Dr Mahathir said in apparent jest.

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