'Much virtue in if', says Mahathir on Malaysian opposition alliance row over PM candidate

Dr Mahathir explained that if the opposition coalition does not win at the national polls, no one from the opposition would be prime minister, so the first priority should be to win.
Dr Mahathir explained that if the opposition coalition does not win at the national polls, no one from the opposition would be prime minister, so the first priority should be to win. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has used a phrase from Shakespeare's comedy As You Like It to explain that he has no intention to be a candidate for prime minister.

In an exclusive interview with a news portal, Tun Dr Mahathir said there is no point discussing a prime ministerial candidate if the opposition Pakatan Harapan alliance does not win the next general election.

"There is a saying, 'much virtue in if'. There are all kinds of 'ifs'. If there is no one else, leaving just me alone there, no other people, everyone's disappeared or died or whatever, then there is no issue of 'if'," he said.

"But that 'if' won't happen," he added.

Dr Mahathir, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, explained that if the opposition coalition does not win at the national polls, no one from the opposition would be prime minister, so the first priority should be to win.

Prior to the appearance of Pribumi in the political scene, Pakatan Harapan had pushed for jailed  Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s (PKR) leader Anwar Ibrahim as the main candidate for prime minister.

When asked about the issue of him and Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin not holding up "Anwar as 7th PM" placards at the PKR national congress on Sunday (May 21), he explained that as guests, they should not be forced to toe the line of other parties.

"We are from another party. When the event was held, that reflected the desires of PKR. We can't be forced to follow the desires of PKR that way," Dr Mahathir said.

He added that determining the prime minister candidate should be done with all relevant parties together.