Anticipating snap polls, Dr Mahathir hints at forming new party

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, May 18, 2020. — Reuters pic
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, May 18, 2020. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who co-founded Bersatu ahead of GE14 has now indicated he may form another new party amid talks of a snap general election.

The Langkawi MP was asked by Investvine, a business news portal from Hong Kong, about his preparations for GE15, which is speculated may be called before the current mandate expires in 2023 due to the thin parliamentary majority of the ruling Perikatan Nasional (PN) government under the leadership of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Dr Mahathir who just turned 95 four days ago said he would be working on the “sidelines, perhaps helping others from my own parties to contest”.

“Hopefully we might be able to gain some seats, but my own party is now split into two.

“One part is with the government, and the other is with me. So they are trying their best to contest under the party’s name.

“So we are faced with the possibility of having to contest under a different name, maybe a new party. So the position at this moment is very uncertain,” Dr Mahathir said in the interview.

He said he needs to first gauge if Bersatu can even garner enough support to contest, saying that the Umno splinter party has lost the support of its previous coalition members.

“We want to know whether we can have enough support to contest, because obviously our own party, both the one in the government as well as outside the government, we have lost the support of our previous coalition, and we are not getting the support of Umno and the new coalition. So the performance will be very bad for the party,” he said.

Dr Mahathir is currently embroiled in a court challenge against his expulsion from Bersatu by its president Muhyiddin who is the sitting prime minister.

Dr Mahathir stepped down as prime minister in February, triggering the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that came to power in Election 2018.

He initially sought a return to office if PH regains federal power, but later withdrew in favour of Sabah Chief Minister and Warisan president Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal following an impasse with PKR which insists on its president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as their bloc’s prime ministerial candidate.

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