PH backs Dr M, who says he now has numbers to be PM

Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed attends the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in Kuala Lumpur February 28, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed attends the International Conference on the Question of Palestine in Kuala Lumpur February 28, 2020. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 29 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he has the numbers to be the next prime minister of Malaysia, after meeting with Pakatan Harapan this morning.

“This morning I had a meeting with leaders of Pakatan Harapan. I am now confident that I have the numbers needed to garner majority support in the Dewan Rakyat.

“I am therefore prepared to stand as prospective candidate for Prime Minister. This decision will be conveyed to the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong,” Dr Mahathir said in a statement today.

In a separate statement, PH’s presidential council today said it was stating its full support for Dr Mahathir as the candidate to be prime minister.

Yesterday, PH had said it was backing PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be its prime minister candidate.

“Pakatan Harapan is a coalition which received a clear mandate in GE14. PH firmly opposes any attempts at a ‘backdoor government’ especially those that involve kleptocrats and traitors to the cause, that will destroy all efforts for a reformation that have been implemented until now.

“Therefore, in order to defend the struggle, Pakatan Harapan states its full support towards YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister candidate,” the PH presidential council said, also affirming that it would continue to defend its manifesto in the 14th general election (GE14).

Yesterday, PH had said it was backing PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be its prime minister candidate.

This morning, Anwar himself posted on his official Twitter account the PH presidential council’s statement which declared PH’s full support for Dr Mahathir as prime minister.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) secretary-general Datuk Marzuki Yahya yesterday said that a meeting attended by 36 PPBM MPs had decided to nominate party president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as a candidate for prime minister to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

But Dr Mahathir today rejected the PPBM announcement that implied or inferred he had supported Muhyiddin as candidate for prime minister, pointing out that he did not do so. 

 “I did not sign any Statutory Declaration in support of any individual.

“In fact I left the meeting early to allow for a free debate among members of parliament from Bersatu to choose whomever they feel is suited for the post of prime minister,” the Langkawi MP explained.

Dr Mahathir also reaffirmed his stand to not work with corrupt politicians from the previous administration under Barisan Nasional (BN), adding that he had informed PPBM MPs at their meeting yesterday.

“As I had repeatedly stated, I am against any form of cooperation with individuals who are known to be corrupt and was part of the kleptocratic administration which the Pakatan Harapan Government had worked hard to rid of.

“As a matter of principle I had conveyed this to the Bersatu Members of Parliament in the meeting yesterday,” he said.

“And as I had stated before, while I am not prepared to work with those who are corrupt from Umno, I can accept them individually for so long as they are proven clean. Perhaps Tan Sri Muhyiddin is more relaxed towards this approach,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, who had led the PH coalition in the May 2018 elections to defeat the alleged corrupt Umno-led administration, had also on Wednesday publicly stated his refusal to work with Umno.

Umno, which is part of BN and contributes a sizeable chunk of Muhyiddin’s support at 39 MPs, has many of its leaders — including Umno’s current president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former president Datuk Seri Najib Razak — facing trials over alleged corruption.

Najib’s administration has also been criticised by his political opponents as being a “kleptocratic” government due to the massive 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) financial scandal.

Separately, PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman denied that he was part of the 36 MPs that the PPBM statement had implied as supporting Muhyiddin’s nomination as prime minister.

“It’s a lie! Tun didn’t sign, I didn’t and others,” he told reporters today via Whatsapp.

Muhyiddin yesterday appeared to have an edge in the race to get majority support from MPs to back him as a candidate to be prime minister, with PPBM’s implied 36 MPs’ support, and the backing of Umno’s 39 MPs, MCA’s two MPs, MIC’s sole MP, PAS’ 18 MP and PBRS’s solitary MP.

But with the denial of support from Dr Mahathir and Syed Saddiq today, the actual number of PPBM MPs supporting Muhyiddin is now in doubt.

 

 

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