Mahathir says DAP wanted Sabah's Shafie Apdal as Malaysian PM

Tun Dr Mahathir (above) was asked why he thinks Datuk Seri Shafie is a better candidate for prime minister than opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. PHOTO: REUTERS

PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - As questions remain on whether Malaysia's opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition could form a united front to take on Perikatan Nasional (PN), former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that it was the Democratic Action Party (DAP) and its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who preferred Sabah politician Mohd Shafie Apdal as candidate for premier.

"Well, that is the feeling of Guan Eng and DAP," he said during a radio programme on Friday (Jan 15).

Tun Dr Mahathir was asked why he thought Datuk Seri Shafie, who is Parti Warisan Sabah president, was a better candidate for prime minister than opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

"Anwar does not want me to be there at all. But, if I'm not there, the Malays will not support Pakatan and he will not be able to continue as prime minister," added Dr Mahathir.

He said he has no problems with Datuk Seri Anwar being the prime minister, but he has to also garner the support of Malays.

Last June, Dr Mahathir had also claimed that it was Lim who proposed Mr Shafie as candidate for prime minister, after a meeting with top leaders from the DAP and another PH ally, Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah).

Back then, senior DAP and Amanah leaders, in acting as mediators between Mr Anwar and Dr Mahathir, had also proposed for PH's top leadership to discuss the proposal of making Mr Shafie prime minister candidate for the opposition.

However, it was met with fierce rebuke from Mr Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), whose leaders strongly declared that no one other than Mr Anwar should be prime minister if the opposition manages to recapture Putrajaya.

At the same time, during the radio interview, Dr Mahathir also stressed that it is up to Parliament to decide whether Mr Anwar possesses an adequate majority to form the next government and be prime minister.

"I cannot determine that. You have to get the support of the majority of MPs. Only Parliament can decide. Even if DAP appoints him as prime minister and if he goes to Parliament and Parliament rejects him, he cannot be the government."

Dr Mahathir also stressed that a minority government will never function in Malaysia because laws will not possess the adequate majority to be passed in Parliament.

At the same time, he said corruption wasn't endemic during his tenure as prime minister, but stressed that he doesn't care about his legacy at all.

"I don't care about my legacy. I'm quite sure that when I'm dead and gone, people will run me down and all that. It's not important. I will be dead anyway. What legacy?"

Meanwhile, he said his Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) will not cooperate with leaders who have been charged in court.

"I will not work with people charged in court, whether or not they are found guilty. These people know they are guilty," he said.

He also said that Pejuang will be against corruption and bribery, adding that his new party also aimed to be a "kingmaker" in the event that PN or PH does not have a clear parliamentary majority.

"This is what Pejuang is all about. We may not form the government, but we want to eradicate corruption. Major parties will have to work with us because in an election, it is most likely that neither Perikatan or Pakatan will get a clear majority," he added.

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