Chinese and Indians won’t back Perikatan Nasional, says Dr M

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he believes not many from the Chinese and Indian communities will support Perikatan Nasional (PN) in the next general election due to the “almost Malay-centric” composition of its Cabinet.

“When there is an election, I do not think the Chinese will support (PN),” he said in an interview with Sinar Harian.

“It is certain that the Indians won’t support (PN). So the majority (of votes) for the Malays will be reduced in the coming polls,” he told the Malay daily.

He had been asked to comment on the fact that not many Chinese and Indians had been appointed to Muhyiddin Yassin’s Cabinet.

Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong and Human Resources Minister M Saravanan are the only Chinese and Indian ministers in the 31-strong line-up.

There are three Chinese deputy ministers: Lim Ban Hong (international trade and industry); Mah Hang Soon (education) and Wee Jeck Seng (primary industries).

Progressive Democratic Party president Tiong King Sing was appointed as deputy national unity minister but turned down the post.

On a separate issue, Mahathir also said he would like to see how Muhyiddin handles Umno leaders who have been taken to court.

He acknowledged that “problematic” leaders had not been named in Muhyiddin’s line-up but said he was interested in what they would do next.

“Will they accept being brought to court, being found guilty and bring imprisoned although they were the ones who gave Muhyiddin power? I want to see what they do next,” he said.

He added that he was not prepared to meet Muhyiddin, with whom he fell out during the political crisis last month.

This follows Muhyiddin’s claim yesterday that he had apologised to Mahathir in a letter and said that he wanted to meet with the veteran statesman.

He also said he wanted Mahathir to endorse his administration.

But Mahathir told Sinar Harian: “I want to see what he can do that I couldn’t.”

In the interview, Mahathir also claimed that the Malays do not support PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as they are frightened by his liberal political philosophy.

In 1998 after his sacking from Umno, he said, Anwar had set up a liberal party, inviting the likes of DAP and PAS.

“The philosophy is liberal,” he said, adding that this differed from Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah who set up the Malay-based Semangat 46 when challenging him.