PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad took up his new post as an adviser to a grouping of Perikatan Nasional-led states to undermine Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, says former Sabah chief minister Salleh Said Keruak.
In a Facebook post, Salleh said Mahathir’s role as the unofficial adviser to the opposition-led states would only benefit the former prime minister if he could win a seat in the Dewan Rakyat and become the opposition leader.
“Mahathir is a very smart politician. He is smarter than most of us,” said Salleh of the former Langkawi MP.
“He wants to have a more effective influence over the political domain so that he can undermine the prime minister’s control and influence.
“He is a master at this kind of games, (and) I salute him for that. In politics, age and ambition have no limit. Therefore, do not underestimate the will of an old man.
“When dealing with an adversary, it is not only his actions but his intentions that have to be watched. If one does not act first, one will suffer the consequences.”
The Usukan assemblyman said that the 98-year-old Mahathir could even become prime minister again if “all his enemies regard this as impossible and remain off guard”.
Salleh, a former communications and multimedia minister, added that PAS would not have supported Mahathir unless it believed that he could help PN regain federal power.
Last Thursday, Terengganu menteri besar Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar said a new grouping comprising PN-led states, known as the “state government four” (SG4), was in the works, with Mahathir set to serve as their unofficial adviser.
On Sept 2, Mahathir met with a top-level PAS delegation, which included the menteris besar of the four PN states, namely Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perlis.
Anwar was in Mahathir’s Cabinet from 1983 until his sacking from both Umno and the government in 1998. He served as deputy prime minister from 1993 to 1998.
While Mahathir and Anwar had made up before the 2018 general election (GE14) and worked together when Pakatan Harapan (PH) was in power, their relationship eventually soured again after the fall of the PH government.
Before the toppling of the PH government in February 2020, Mahathir had repeatedly promised to hand over the top post to Anwar, who was regarded by PH supporters as their prime minister-designate.