Mahathir denies involvement in alleged attempts to keep him as PM

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, accompanied by Rebungan Resort Langkawi project director Azrina Arshad Ayub, during a visit to the site for the groundbreaking of the Villa Sirehan: Phase 2 project. He has denied any link to attempts to keep him on as prime minister. (Bernama pic)

LANGKAWI: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today dismissed allegations and speculation linking him to attempts by certain quarters to keep him on as prime minister for the rest of the electoral term.

He reiterated that he would keep his promise to hand over the post to his successor after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, which Malaysia will host in November.

Mahathir’s statement today was in response to claims reported in a news portal today that 138 MPs had signed statutory declarations (SDs) in support of him completing a full term as the prime minister.

“Pakatan Harapan (PH) has the majority in Parliament today. This 138 figure is the work of others and I have no knowledge as to how they came up with this.

“In other words, there must be PH support to get this figure,” he told reporters after performing the groundbreaking for the Villa Sirehan: Phase 2 project and a visit to the Rebungan Resort Langkawi in Ulu Melaka, here, today.

Asked if he was aware of the SDs, the prime minister replied: “I hear all sorts of things. (Some are saying) PM for 20 more years… I am 94 years old, 95 in another few months, so quite impossible.

“I promised to step down after Apec, so I will keep to my promise. I am not involved with anything else, only the promise to step down and I will step down,” he said.

Asked if talks about the power transition should be halted, Mahathir said the issue continued to be talked about as it was constantly the focus of the media.

“It’s the press. The press gets excited (over the transition issue). Where there is controversy, there is news. So to the press, if both (PKR president) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and I do not get along, for instance, the better for them to sell their stories,” he said.

When asked, he said certain PH leaders tend to talk about the issue only because the media kept hounding them to comment on it.

“The Pakatan Harapan leaders come out with statements because they are asked about it by the media, otherwise there will be none.”

In a statement yesterday, Anwar said he had met Mahathir in Putrajaya to discuss the transition plan for the post of prime minister.

Anwar also claimed that PAS, a group from Umno and a handful of PKR members were involved in efforts to gather signatures to support Mahathir’s leadership until the end of the full term.

Anwar said Mahathir was not involved in these efforts and, in fact, reiterated his stand that he would hand over power as promised.