KUALA LUMPUR: The DAP leadership today said it would call for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to return to the top post at Pakatan Harapan’s Presidential Council emergency meeting tonight.
This comes after Mahathir submitted his resignation letter to the Agong.
“I had seen Tun (Mahathir) this morning in his residence and was surprised when he informed me of his intention to resign,” DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng told the media today at the end of a meeting at his party’s headquarters here.
He said Mahathir disagreed with plans to work with Umno “when we worked so hard to reject Umno successfully in the 2018 general election”.
“DAP commends Tun’s principled position of refusing to work with an Umno whose leaders are involved in corrupt practices and misrule causing Malaysia to be labelled as a global kleptocracy at its worst,” said Lim.
He said Mahathir’s decision to resign was based on principles.
“This is the first time that a Malaysian prime minister is prepared to resign on principle to uphold integrity and combat corruption,” he added.
The press conference was also attended by, among others, DAP deputy chairman Gobind Singh Deo and national chairman Tan Kok Wai.
Asked for DAP’s reasons in nominating Mahathir as the prime minister again, Lim said DAP did not want to work with a party that it defeated in the last general election “for obvious reasons”.
“This is a PM who resigned (from his party) on principle, rejecting the efforts to undermine a democratically elected government,” he said.
DAP felt that Mahathir should be allowed to finish what he had set out to do, including attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit which would be held at the end of this year.
“We should stick to the consensus reached at Friday’s PH presidential council meeting,” he said, adding that anything else would undermine the decisions made at that meeting.
‘We have the numbers’
Lim also said that the party would be able to deliver the numbers to form the government. However, he did not elaborate further.
“I think that can be tested in Parliament when it sits again in March,” he said on claims that the party would not have enough support.
Asked if Pakatan Harapan had been dissolved, he said this would depend on the outcome of the Presidential Council meeting tonight.
During the press conference, Lim added that it was an emotional meeting with Mahathir earlier today.
“When a PM tells you that he wants to resign on a matter of principle, it is an emotional moment.”
He said Attorney-General Tommy Thomas would be releasing a statement on the status of the government.
Lim was also asked if he was still the finance minister, to which he replied: “Can you wait for the AG’s statement? You (media) seem to be more interested in the finance minister post than the PM’s post. I think the post of prime minister is much more interesting.”
Lim added that other than DAP, Amanah has also stated its intentions to support Mahathir as the prime minister.
Asked if DAP disagreed with former PKR leader Mohamed Azmin Ali over working with Umno and PAS, he said he would leave it to Mahathir to respond.
Lim added that the problem was with PKR members who were expelled from the party earlier today and who wanted to work with Umno and other opposition parties to form a new government.
“Obviously Tun cannot accept that,” Lim said.
Lim said all the drama over the political developments was unnecessary.
“All this drama is unnecessary, why all this drama when we should focus on improving the economy,” he said, adding that the nation was also facing challenges from the Covid-19 outbreak.
“Let’s talk about livelihood, let’s talk about that. Why talk about position and self-gain? I think this is utterly irresponsible. I think we should focus on the people,” he added.
On the dinner held at the Sheraton hotel last night which saw opposition and PKR leaders mingling, Lim said DAP had nothing to do with the “Sheraton move”.
He said it was unconstitutional and against proper democratic practices.