PETALING JAYA: A former top Election Commission (EC) official has dismissed Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s call for Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to hold an election to test his support, saying this would be a waste of resources.
Former EC deputy chairman Wan Ahmad Wan Omar said such a move would be unwise as conducting a snap election less than two years after the 15th general election – which cost RM725 million – would incur significant costs to the taxpayer.
Speaking to FMT, he said such amounts could be better utilised for the country’s development.
“I am quite surprised that a former prime minister would make such a statement,” said Wan Ahmad.
“As a statesman, Mahathir should know the pros and cons – and the overall impact on the country – if a general election is held in the second year of a parliamentary term.
“He is doing this just to vent his frustration (against Anwar), and the people are the victims. That’s not right. Priority should be given to the country’s stability and the people’s welfare.”
Wan Ahmad said a reasonable time to dissolve Parliament would be in the last year of a prime minister’s term, which would allow the public the chance to properly assess a government’s effectiveness.
“It’s too early and unfair to draw conclusions now. Give the government and the prime minister the chance to do their best for the country, at least for another two years,” he said.
At a press conference on Monday, Mahathir claimed that Anwar was abusing his power by getting enforcement agencies to investigate his political enemies and influencing the judiciary to let his allies escape prosecution.
This came as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said it had served Mahathir’s son Mirzan a notice to declare his assets as part of its investigation into information from the Panama Papers report, and Mirzan’s business activities involving the sale and purchase of government-linked companies.
At the same press conference, Mahathir dared Anwar to call an election to test his support, after claiming that Anwar was likely to have lost voters’ confidence.
Mahathir said while political leaders would become prime ministers and form governments after winning elections, Anwar was appointed prime minister after obtaining majority support to form a unity government made up of various coalitions.
The 98-year-old said this contrasted with how he had won five general elections with a two-thirds majority, demonstrating the people’s support for him as prime minister from 1981 to 2003.