Dr M denies tripartite merger, says Opposition parties trying to remain relevant

Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporter at a press conference at the Bukhary Foundation, Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Bersatu chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks to reporter at a press conference at the Bukhary Foundation, Kuala Lumpur January 17, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today denied extending an invite to Opposition parties Umno and PAS to form a tripartite government with his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM).

Dr Mahathir rubbished the rumours and said this was clearly a ploy by the opposition parties as they scramble to remain relevant and influential in the political arena.

“I never invited them. They have realised that their position has lost its strength and influence, they have become a weak party.

“As a weak party they have to change their approach which is why they are willing to support me,” he said during an interview with online portal The Malaya Post that was broadcasted on YouTube tonight.

Dr Mahathir stressed that when he meets with leaders from opposition parties it does not mean it is a negotiation session for them to join and form a “Pakatan Nasional” coalition.

He explained that as prime minister he is required to meet various groups representing different sections of society and have proper discourse with them so that he can obtain information to tackle the issues affecting all parts of society.  

“If I do not know their opinions, I won’t be able to handle the problems that arise.

“But, there are people who are interpreting my meeting with opposing party leaders as something that means I am working to make a new coalition; this is not true,” he said.

On Tuesday Singapore’s Straits Times in a report claimed that Umno may back Dr Mahathir to serve out his full term, purportedly in an attempt to prevent Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from succeeding him.

Citing unnamed party sources and a recording of Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the report said the party’s top leaders were pushing to rally support for Dr Mahathir to stay in office.

Meanwhile PAS today said they would be tabling a motion of confidence for Dr Mahathir to see out the entire term as prime minister, supposedly to end the dispute over the transition of power to Anwar and reinstall economic stability.

Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan on Thursday advised his fellow party members against making hasty decisions and to ensure the priorities of the party come first, amid speculations of the tripartite cooperation.

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