KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 24 — Twice former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would reluctantly accept the responsibility of leading the government a third time if needed.

Speaking at a Gerakan Tanah Air forum at the Bangi Convention Centre, Dr Mahathir said he would prefer a less taxing role, one that would allow him to advise or be an expert consultant to the prime minister instead.

“But if the insistence were to be incessant, I would find it hard to only think about myself,” he said when asked about his willingness to assume the mantle for a third time.

“So, if the insistence is there, I will accept.”


The 97-year-old, whose first stint as the PM spanned 22 years, then clarified that this was not because he coveted the role, which he would only accept it if that was what the public wanted.

He also denied that he had formed yet another political party in Pejuang to be a vehicle for such ambitions, instead asserting he only wished to see his vision for the Malay community come to pass under a caring and trustworthy government.

“However, it cannot be for the full term,” he told the audience. “Maybe just for a year.”


Dr Mahathir defied the odds to become the only person to be appointed prime minister twice in Malaysia when he led Pakatan Harapan to an unexpected victory over Barisan Nasional (BN) in the 2018 general election.

However, he later plunged the country into political chaos by suddenly resigning as the prime minister less than two years later, after the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia that he formed abandoned PH for an informal alliance with BN.

Prior to his resignation, Dr Mahathir had been meant to yield his position to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, but never did so on the grounds that there was no formal agreement setting a deadline for him to do so.