KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s critics should stop asking him to step down as prime minister, Pakatan Harapan Youth chief Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said today.
Syed Saddiq pointed out that Dr Mahathir has repeatedly stated his intention to honour PH’s decision that he hand over the PM’s post to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and that there has never been a specific two-year deadline signed by PH parties.
“I am among those in the presidential council who was present when the agreement was signed. There was no mention of a two year timeline for the transition of the post in the agreement that was signed. .
“If there isn’t, why the lies to the people? Why push Tun Dr Mahathir to step down when we never agreed to such a thing?” said Syed Saddiq in a statement here.
His statement comes in response to a scathing attack from former PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali, who accused the PPBM chairman of being power-hungry.
Syed Husin had also said that the PH presidential council had the authority to ask Dr Mahathir to quit as PM.
Coming to Dr Mahathir’s defence, Syed Saddiq asked if Syed Husin was present during the discussions of the agreement.
“Maybe he knows better than all of the people in the presidential council.”
He said such irresponsible and distorted attacks only created the false perception that there are other forces at play trying to create chaos in the country in order to pressure the prime minister to step down.
“If you really want him to step down respectfully, give him space to govern instead of continuously pushing him to step down even though he was elected by the people. That is the meaning of respect.
“The people are craving change and improvement. Not obsessed over the transition, power grabs or political sabotage. This obsession over the transition and excessive politicking is destroying the government’s dream of reformation and rehabilitation of the country’s economy.
“Enough is enough, how can we move forward when there are hidden hands at play who want us to fail?” he asked, saying that the transition issue comes up too often.
The Youth and Sports minister listed Dr Mahathir’s achievements since being in office, including the renegotiation of terms of the East Coast Rail Line project and palm oil export with China, improving “quarter-to-quarter investment” from America by RM22.5 billion, drastically increasing investment from Japan, battling Islamophobia with Turkey and Pakistan, and improving the nation’s reputation from a kleptocracy to a country of rule of law.
“Does these not all benefit the country? Of course there is more to be done but to belittle Tun Dr Mahathir’s efforts by saying he ‘travels in and out of the country wasting public fund’ is unwarranted,” he said.
Syed Saddiq also dismissed Syed Husin’s claims that Dr Mahathir was to blame for current problems like the split in Malay support, the abuse of the judiciary system and government institutions and widespread corruption.
“If the country was destroyed under Tun Dr Mahathir, does it mean that ministers under him should also be blamed?,” he said, pointing out that the deputy prime minister before was Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is waiting to take over the reins from Dr Mahathir, while the current deputy prime minister is Anwar’s wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
“Also, if he is to blame for everything, does it mean he can claim all the credit for every development during his 22 year reign?,” he said, naming KLIA, the Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, Proton, the Sepang Formula1 circuit, UiTM, MRSM and increased allocation for MARA scholarships as among them.
“These are all things that put Malaysia on the global map. Yes, there is no leader free from mistakes, but why sabotage efforts at rebuilding now when he is trying to fix the country’s economy. Are the calls for him to step down going to stabilise the economy?” he asked.
Syed Saddiq called for all discussions, brainstorming to be targeted at nation building and contribution to society.
“If not, just keep any bad mouthing internal. Enough of politicking. The people want us to focus on their livelihoods, not the politics of power grabbing,” he said.