PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today declared he will not agree to becoming the next prime minister “for the time being” should the opposition win the next general election.
He would however, consider the move, if it was the wish of the public themselves.
“I may be forced to reconsider,” he said on his previous refusal to become the prime minister again when asked in recent months.
“But I won’t turn on my friends in Pakatan Harapan,” he said, referring to the other component parties in the opposition coalition, namely DAP, PKR and Amanah.
Mahathir, who is the chairman of Pakatan Harapan’s newest component PPBM, said this in response to a question by a Facebook user during a live question and answer session on the social networking site.
Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister also said that he still considers himself a retiree and had vowed, in the past, to never take up the responsibility again.
But, Mahathir said he has no qualms of taking part in discussions to resolve any of the countries woes, citing his 22-year experience as prime minister.
“If I was given a chance, I’m prepared to do my part.”
In an exclusive interview with FMT last month, Mahathir ruled out suggestions that he will make a prime ministerial comeback, saying there was no point discussing the prime minister-designate if the coalition still fails to win at the next general election.
He also said he had no intention to become a candidate at the next general election, stating that at 92, he was “old”.
Former minister in the prime minister’s department Zaid Ibrahim had previously named Mahathir as the person most suitable to become the PM to ensure political stability should there be a change of government.
This despite the fact, that many in the opposition coalition are still pushing for Anwar Ibrahim for the post, which was evident at the PKR congress last month, where hundreds of PKR members raised placards calling for Anwar to be installed as the seventh prime minister. The move was expected to be preceded by PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail becoming the “interim” prime minister.
Anwar who is currently serving his five-year jail sentence could also be released next year, but the former opposition leader faces a five year ban from active politics.