PETALING JAYA: PPBM has rebuffed the suggestion by controversial preacher Zamihan Mat Zin that Dr Mahathir Mohamad is too old to be politically active, insisting that the 92-year-old party chairman is healthy and fit to lead the government.
Its information chief, Kamarudin Mohd Nor, said age was no barrier for the former prime minister who had been in power for 22 years till 2003.
He said Mahathir was mentally sharp and had vast experience to share for the benefit of the people.
“So the issue does not arise. He can go anywhere and does not need to say much. Just wait for the election to come,” he told FMT.
Mahathir, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman, has been selected by the opposition coalition to be its prime ministerial candidate in the 14th general election, which must be held before August.
In an online live interview with news portal Watan Online yesterday, Zamihan had said that an old man who had been in power for 22 years should enrol in a madrasah and spend time in prayer.
Without naming Mahathir, he said the person should stay out of politics and repent “for all his past mistakes”.
“And do charitable deeds for the hereafter. Stop thinking about politics when you’re old and about to die.”
He also claimed that it was jealousy that made the “comeback politician” enter active politics again, adding that it was proof of his bad intentions.
Zamihan,an officer with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) seconded to the home ministry to carry out programmes for prisoners, including rehabilitation of militant suspects, sparked controversy when a video of his sermon went viral last October.
He had criticised the Johor sultan’s stand on a Muslim-only laundrette and made derogatory remarks about the hygiene of Chinese Malaysians. He was arrested and investigated for sedition. He was also condemned by both the Johor and Selangor sultans.
Kamarudin said just because someone was opposed to Prime Minister Najib Razak’s administration, it did not mean he was envious of the Umno president.
He said Zamihan’s claim meant that DAP, PKR and Amanah, who were also against Najib’s rule, were jealous of him as well.
“This is a narrow and mischievous statement,” he said.
Meanwhile, PPBM strategy and policy bureau chief Rais Hussin said Zamihan should safeguard his reputation as a preacher by conducting himself with decorum and respect, especially towards an elder like Mahathir.
He said Mahathir was able to travel around the whole country to give talks in a bid to combat corruption and abuse of power that were damaging to the nation and the Malay race.
“Is this not part of the calling of our religion?” he said, taking Zamihan to task for being silent about the “sins” of corruption among leaders in power.