KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will not be able to garner Malay support in the next general election if the coalition refuses to cooperate with him.

Dr Mahathir said this was evident in the fact of his involvement in PH during the 14th general election held in 2018, adding that he had helped bolster the Opposition coalition's Malay support in particular for DAP.

“You know DAP, which could never get more than 18 Parliament seats, obtained 42 seats because of the Malay support I brought in.

“So, if Anwar excludes me, this means that Anwar is going to exclude Malay support, Anwar will lose,” he said in an interview with China Press published today.

Dr Mahathir was referring to PKR president and Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who had recently said the coalition was open to working with anyone, so long as they were aligned to the grouping’s principles.

Expressing his intention to cooperate with Anwar again, Dr Mahathir however said the latter has thus far rejected all overtures.

Dr Mahathir added that if Anwar wishes to be prime minister, the latter must muster the necessary support to do so.

“But looking at past records, how many times has he claimed to secure the necessary support? He never had the required support.

“When he (Anwar) said he has enough support, it was made after my exclusion. If he has it, show it, but he never did (prove),” he said, referring to Anwar’s “convincing, formidable” majority claim made in September which failed to materialise.

During the recent Budget 2021 vote in the Dewan Rakyat, Anwar was only able to garner a maximum of 108 MPs, three short of defeating Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s maiden Budget.

“They (government MPs) pledged to support Anwar probably because of the promises made by him. But those who are part of the ruling coalition know well that by ousting Muhyiddin Yassin, they will have to step down too and their future is pretty uncertain.

“So when it came to voting, they would prefer to support certainty and therefore chose Muhyiddin,” Dr Mahathir said.

At present, there are 220 MPs in the 222-member Dewan Rakyat and two vacancies following the deaths of incumbents.