Don’t like me? Then say so, Dr M chides absent MPs

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today took to task MPs who were absent from the Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday after a lack of quorum caused proceedings to be delayed for the second time in two months.

Speaking to reporters after officiating an event here, he said he would be talking to them about the matter.

“They were anxious to become candidates before the election, but after they were elected they don’t seem to be very serious about serving the people,” he said.

The Dewan Rakyat sitting yesterday was delayed by two minutes as there were only 24 MPs in the hall, two short of the minimum required under Dewan Rakyat Meeting Standing Order Number 13 (1).

In October, proceedings were also delayed due to a lack of quorum, sparking criticism of the administration by the opposition.

When asked if the absence of MPs could be a sign of protest against him as prime minister, Mahathir said there are many other ways of expressing such views.

“If they don’t like me, then they (can) say so openly,” he added.

“I am open to criticism. When we become leaders, we must expect this.”

He said he agreed with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim on the matter, adding that those who wish to dispute his position should do so “in the right way”.

“It shouldn’t be through the back door,” he said.

Yesterday, Anwar refuted claims that several Pakatan Harapan (PH) component party leaders were planning to oust Mahathir after the coalition’s loss in the Tanjung Piai parliamentary by-election last Saturday.

Anwar, the Port Dickson MP, also dismissed rumours that his deputy and Economics Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali was trying to create a new government through the back door.

Azmin had been criticised by his party colleagues for hosting a meeting with Umno and PKR lawmakers at his official residence in Putrajaya on Monday.

The meeting was purportedly held to ensure that Mahathir remained as prime minister and to get support from both PH and the opposition.

To this, Anwar said he would not stop anyone from becoming prime minister but that there are proper channels to do this.

He also said that his relations with Mahathir “are strong”.