KUALA SELANGOR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said he believes that the Opposition will be greatly helped by Indian and Chinese votes in the upcoming general election.
The chairman of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance said the challenge for the Opposition would be in wooing Malay support.
Speaking to reporters after a Pakatan ceramah in Bestari Jaya on Sunday (Dec 31), Dr Mahathir said that this was why electoral boundaries were being redrawn.
He claimed that Prime Minister Najib Razak wanted enough Malay representatives to form the Government without the participation of the Chinese.
"Even PAS has said that there should not be non-Muslims in the Government," he said, referring a recent comment by Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president Abdul Hadi Awang on an all Malay-Muslim Cabinet.
Dr Mahathir, who is tipped to contest a Parliamentary seat, ruled out further negotiations with the Islamist party PAS ahead of the election, calling the party "untrustworthy" and going against Islamic principles.
"With PAS, they will agree one thing and behind they will support someone else," he said. "For example, they agreed Anwar Ibrahim should be the prime minister candidate but behind Anwar they talked to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and supported him for the post instead," he added.
Dr Mahathir on Saturday said he would either contest in Langkawi, Kubang Pasu or Putrajaya as a representative of PH-member Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) which he also heads.
Asked to comment on those plans, the Member of Parliament for Putrajaya, Tengku Adnan Mansor said: "He can contest anywhere. Anyone, even those who do not belong to any party, can contest anywhere because Malaysia is a democratic country," he told reporters.
Commenting on Dr Mahathir's comments that the people would have freedom of expression if the PH won the general election, Tengku Adnan rebutted that freedom of speech already existed in the country.
"He (Dr Mahathir) himself gives speeches every day. We know that the opposition is using this sentiment to poison the minds of the people," Tengku Adnan, who is the Umno secretary-general, said.