Malaysian PM Mahathir to stump for Anwar Ibrahim in Port Dickson by-election

A lorry with banners of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (left) and Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim during nomination day for the by-election in Port Dickson on Sept 29, 2018. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday (Oct 5) that he will visit Pakatan Harapan leader Anwar Ibrahim's campaign for the by-election in Port Dickson, reported the Malay Mail.

Tun Mahathir, who is PH chairman, said he would drop in next Monday (Oct 8), after earlier saying he does not normally take part in by-election campaigns.

Datuk Seri Anwar is meant to take over the helm from Dr Mahathir in two years' time, as agreed by the members of the PH coalition. Standing in the by-election will pave the way for his return to Parliament.

Dr Mahathir explained that he made the decision after public criticism of his previous statement that he would not stump for Mr Anwar in the by-election set for Oct 13.

PM Mahathir's decision will also help dispel rumours of a strained relationship between the two leaders.

"A lot of people making all kinds of remarks against me. So I go there," he told a press conference after the PH presidential council meeting, reported the Malay Mail.

According to news site Malaysiakini, the last time Dr Mahathir took part in a by-election campaign trail was for former ruling pact Barisan Nasional's Bukit Gantang campaign in 2009.

Addressing complaints that Mr Anwar had an unfair advantage over the six other candidates running in Port Dickson because Cabinet members had been campaigning for him, Dr Mahathir said: ""Even though we are ministers, we have our own parties so we still have to do party work," he said.

Some quarters have also complained that Mr Anwar used government machinery in his campaign, as he attended a function graced by Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu. Port Dickson, with its military training centre and an army museum, has a substantial population of servicemen.

"It wasn't a government function but a veterans'. These people are already retired. It's not a function carried out by the defence minister but he was there as a party member," said Dr Mahathir, as quoted by Malaysiakini.

Dr Mahathir also expressed hope that outstation voters would return to cast their ballots on Oct 13 as there will be no postal voting, reported The Star.

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