PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he will only contest in the upcoming 14th general election (GE14) if he is desperately needed.
The 92-year old PPBM chairman said the party already had many capable and experienced candidates to run in the election which was due by the middle of next year.
“I have not confirmed whether I will contest or not. Only in a desperate situation would I be running. At this moment it does not seem desperate,” he was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian at PPBM’s Hari Raya open house at Kampung Ayer Merah in Kulim, Kedah.
He added there were many suitable candidates to contest in the polls and each had his own strengths.
On March 7, Mahathir hinted that he would not be contesting when he brushed aside a challenge from Umno minister Nazri Aziz to take him on in his parliamentary constituency of Padang Rengas.
He said Nazri knew he had no plan to run at all, and described the minister’s dare as an “empty challenge”.
On June 6, he told top businessmen and opinion leaders in Tokyo that there was a possibility he might be prime minister again if the opposition won the next general election.
He added that if he became prime minister, it would only be for a short while.
“If there is no candidate … I might try, only on condition that everybody agrees,” the Nikkei Asian Review quoted him as saying.
Mahathir, who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003, was Umno’s Kubang Pasu MP for three decades until 2004. He quit the party last year before establishing PPBM.
The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman also urged PPBM and PH members not to sabotage any of the party’s candidates in the election.
PPBM President Muhyiddin Yassin said yesterday seat negotiations among PH parties had started and PPBM had requested for several seats.