Azmin backs call for Mahathir to stay on for full term as PM

Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the opening ceremony of the 20th Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur on June 24, 2019.
Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali and Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at the opening ceremony of the 20th Asia Oil & Gas Conference in Kuala Lumpur on June 24, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali yesterday joined the Malaysian opposition in calling for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to serve his full term as prime minister.

His statement appears to contradict an arrangement within the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition for Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) president Anwar Ibrahim to take over the reins two years after the coalition's victory at the polls last year.

"I welcome the statement made by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Hadi Awang that PAS and Umno will give their full support to Tun Mahathir to serve as the prime minister until the end of his term," Datuk Seri Azmin, who is also PKR's deputy president, said in a statement.

Mr Azmin has been implicated in a sex video scandal which has led to a split within his party, with leaders pledging support for either the president or the deputy.

Dr Mahathir has said that the video was an attempt to block the political career of an individual and stated that he would not be used in this issue.

Datuk Seri Hadi said last Friday that PAS and Umno wished to see Dr Mahathir complete his term as premier until the next election - due in 2023 - to uphold the interests of the Malays and Muslims.

Mr Hadi said the two Malay Muslim opposition parties would support Dr Mahathir as they felt that the PH administration was "not the face of Islam". The four-party alliance includes the Chinese-based Democratic Action Party that PAS and Umno staunchly oppose.

In the statement yesterday, Mr Azmin said: "Tun Dr Mahathir's leadership is needed to ensure stability, continuity and consistency of government policies to spur investment, create jobs and prosperity for all.

"I am confident that political stability will strengthen the country's fundamentals and integrity, which along with the concept of 'shared prosperity', will bring Malaysia back as an Asian Tiger."

 
 

Dr Mahathir leads PH, which defeated the Najib Razak-led Barisan Nasional in the May 9 general election last year.

Under an agreement within PH, Mr Anwar was to become the next prime minister in about two years after the election victory. But Dr Mahathir has wavered between saying he will abide by the agreement, and being non-committal towards it.

PAS has previously voiced its staunch support for Dr Mahathir.

In February, PAS said its 18 MPs pledged to back Dr Mahathir amid talk that a no-confidence vote was being plotted against the 94-year-old leader in Parliament.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2019, with the headline 'Azmin backs call for Mahathir to stay on for full term as PM'. Print Edition | Subscribe