Former Umno minister willing to support Mahathir's leadership

Former Umno minister Hishammuddin Hussein (pictured) said he was able to work under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for 20 years and he never saw any issue. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday (April 2) that he is willing to give his support to the leadership of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

This comes after Malaysian lawmaker Nurul Izzah Anwar's interview with The Straits Times last month provoked some strong reactions.

Mr Hishammuddin said politicking within the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition should be resolved quickly as failure to do so will be detrimental to the country's image and stability.

"I was able to work under Dr Mahathir for 20 years and I never saw any issue," the former defence minister was quoted as saying by Star Online.

"Why only now is there an issue of 'dictatorship', even from those within PH ranks?"

In the interview on March 12, Ms Izzah remarked that she was "broken-hearted" over having to once again work with Tun Dr Mahathir, whom she labelled a "former dictator who wreaked so much damage".

Dr Mahathir, during his first stint as prime minister, had sacked Ms Nurul's father, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as deputy prime minister in 1998 and later had him imprisoned.

Ms Izzah's remarks in the interview drew flak from several quarters, including from within her own Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

However, Mr Anwar defended his daughter and also reiterated his support for Dr Mahathir's leadership.

The Malay Mail reported the PKR president as saying: "I think the statement was not wholly aimed at Tun Mahathir, but also directed towards other (leaders) who voiced their opinions and attacked each other."

Still, Mr Hishammuddin said on Tuesday that labelling Dr Mahathir a dictator was uncalled for and would not contribute to the well-being of the country.

"You have your own people within your coalition calling you a dictator," he said, adding that this never happened when Dr Mahathir was in power before.

"I am confident that those within BN will be with Dr Mahathir to ensure he will be able to continue his work as the prime minister," he added.

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