KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — Two-time prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad didn’t rule out a coalition with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim despite earlier squabbles over succession plans since no party is likely to win outright in the 15th general election (GE15).
However, Dr. Mahathir, 97, told Bloomberg in an interview recently that he isn’t interested in becoming a prime minister for a third time due to health concerns, as he’s had several coronary bypass operations and suffered three heart attacks in recent years.
"These people get very upset if I say I’m not contesting.
"So if I’m healthy enough — if they still want me — I cannot deny them, even if it kills me,” said Dr Mahathir.
Tun Dr Mahathir was also the longest serving prime minister in Malaysia.
He first helmed the prime minister's post from July 1981 to October 2003 as the fourth prime minister, and May 2018 to March 2020 as the seventh prime minister.
In 2018, he led Pakatan Harapan (PH) to a historical victory in the 14th General Election (GE14), which toppled Barisan Nasional’s (BN) rule for the first time since Malaysia’s independence in 1957 on the back of public anger over Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1MDB scandal.
The new Pakatan Harapan government, however, ended when Tun Dr. Mahathir fell out with PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar IBrahim over an agreement to hand over power, leading to a collapse in government and the formation of a new administration with the support of Umno lawmakers.
Malaysia has seen two changes in federal government over the past four years.