Dr M says will honour PH agreement on succession

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad at a gathering with Malaysians in Brunei last night. (Bernama pic)

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will honour the agreement among Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners that he will be interim prime minister for two years before handing over the reins to Anwar Ibrahim.

“I am confident that he (Anwar) is now more mature and much more experienced,” he said at a gathering with Malaysians in Brunei here last night.

He was responding to a guest who had voiced concern about history repeating itself on the choice of successor.

PH comprises PPBM, DAP, PKR and Amanah. Mahathir is PPBM chairman while Anwar is president elect of PKR.

Mahathir also said much had been done to replace the previous prime minister, such as holding demonstrations, attempting to move a vote of no confidence in Parliament, lodging police reports and coming up with a people’s declaration rejecting the leadership of the former administration.

However, this was to no avail until the people made their stand known through the ballot box, he added.

The prime minister said they could do the same if they were dissatisfied with his successor.

He also dismissed claims that he is an “Ultra Malay”, saying the term was no different from other accusations hurled against him like “Mahafiraun” and “Mahazalim”. These, he said, were political fodder which his opponents liked to use against him.

“For me, the country comes first so that there is no wide gap between the races. Even if a country is not multiracial, if there is wide disparity among the people, it will invite disaster,” he said.

He added that if the gap was significant, especially along racial lines, it would lead to animosity and rioting.

He said efforts must be made to prevent this from happening, which was why the PH government was trying to unite the people and discard racial issues.

On another matter, Mahathir said the Pan Borneo Highway project would continue but might take a longer time to implement as the government had other financial commitments to address first.

Development projects aside, he said, the government machinery also needed to be repaired as the administration had been damaged during the previous rule. He asked the people to remain patient over any new developments.

When asked about his hopes after stepping down as prime minister, Mahathir said he would like to see the people being proud of Malaysia as they had been in the past. He said he wanted to see Malaysia return to its former glory when it was known as an Asian Tiger, and the government to be more democratic instead of kleptocratic.

He also wished to see the rule of law established and for Malaysia to become a developed nation as envisaged in Vision 2020 even if this does not happen by the target date.