KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — Former two-time prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will be sitting out the coming election in six states because some people think he is “too old” and “senile” to be a candidate.

The Kedah-born who will turn 98 years old in July told a news conference in Cheras yesterday that “I’m too old and already senile” when asked if he planned to run for public office again, The Star reported today.

“I don’t understand. People overseas invited me to speak about what’s next for the world. Japan and South Korea invited me. But, when I’m back here, people ask when am I retiring,” he was quoted as saying.

Dr Mahathir was speaking to the press after a closed-door roundtable about the controversial “Malay Proclamation”, an initiative to unite the various Malay political groups under a common umbrella to strengthen their community’s rights and interest that he claimed to be weakening.

Dr Mahathir was reported saying he will discuss cooperation with the Opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who he claimed has publicly supported the Malay Proclamation initiative.

Dr Mahathir and Muhyiddin last joined forces ahead of GE14 and were part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition that won Election 2018, wresting Putrajaya from the once-powerful Barisan Nasional.

But Muhyiddin who is also Bersatu president ousted Dr Mahathir as prime minister and subsequently sacked the latter from the party.

At yesterday’s news conference, Dr Mahathir was asked if the cooperation with PN would be just for the state elections or permanent.

“We will discuss. Maybe, we will contest in the state polls if that’s the wishes of the public,” he was quoted as saying in reply.

The closed-door meeting was also attended by PAS president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang, The Star reported.

Also present at the press conference was former Umno leaders Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Tan Sri Noh Omar, Putra president Datuk Ibrahim Ali, PAS secretary-general Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan, Pejuang president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, and former Parti Bangsa Malaysia president designate Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin.

Dr Mahathir said that leaders during the meeting agreed to address issues faced by the Malays but that they were not looking to oppress non-Malays.

“This is not to deny the rights of the non-Malays.

“Don’t assume that our movement is anti-non-Malays. We are not against non-Malays; anything we do in future, we take into consideration the rights of others,” he was quoted as saying.

Six states must hold their elections this year as their five-year mandate will expire. They are: Selangor, Penang, Negeri Sembilan, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan.