I did not say 3 years, says Dr M about handing over power

Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrives for the open house organised by Kumpulan Maju at Seri Kembangan tonight. He is flanked by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu (left) and Works Minister Baru Bian.

SERI KEMBANGAN: Dr Mahathir Mohamad has denied saying he will step down as prime minister within three years.

“I did not say three years,” he told reporters at an open house organised by Kumpulan Maju here tonight, adding that he wanted to “correct the work” that was being done.

Mahathir was also asked on his meeting with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim this evening, to which he said it was a normal meeting.

“Nothing unusual,” he said.

Anwar had maintained earlier today that there were “no problems” between him and Mahathir on the transition of power, days after the prime minister said he would not remain in charge beyond three years.

“I am meeting shortly with Mahathir, I will (seek) clarification from him,” Anwar said at the finance ministry here.

On Saturday, Mahathir was quoted by CNBC in an interview in Bangkok, Thailand, that he would step down as prime minister within three years, handing over the reins to Anwar.

“As far as I’m concerned, I have made a promise that I will step down and that Anwar will succeed me,” he was quoted as saying.

In February, Anwar had said he expected to be prime minister in not more than two years’ time, adding that Mahathir must be given enough space to govern effectively during “very difficult and trying times”.

Prior to the 14th general election, Pakatan Harapan component parties had reportedly agreed that if they won, Mahathir would be the premier for two years before handing over the reins to Anwar.