Malaysia's leader decided by top Pakatan Harapan body: PM Mahathir

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the suggestion by opposition MPs that he remains as prime minister until the next general election was only their opinion.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the suggestion by opposition MPs that he remains as prime minister until the next general election was only their opinion.PHOTO: REUTERS

ASHGABAT (Turkmenistan) • Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has reiterated that only the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council can determine who is prime minister, Bernama news agency reported.

Tun Dr Mahathir said the suggestion by opposition MPs that he remains prime minister until the next general election was only their opinion.

"That is their opinion. The one who will determine is the Pakatan Harapan presidential council. We will decide," Dr Mahathir said at a press conference with Malaysian journalists on Sunday night.

Last week, secretary-general of Parti Islam SeMalaysia Takiyuddin Hassan said all 18 MPs from the party will back Dr Mahathir should he want to continue as prime minister until the next general election in 2023. Later, six Umno MPs also voiced their support for Dr Mahathir.

Their support could derail an agreement for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the 72-year-old president of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, to take over the premiership from Dr Mahathir, after around two years from the May general election last year.

The PH presidential council consists of top leaders of the four-party coalition.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir, who is in Turkmenistan for a two-day official visit, said he could not set a specific time frame for the transition of the country's leadership, Bernama reported.

The 94-year-old Prime Minister said: "I promise I won't stay too long, but I think, based on my past experience, I can try to correct all the wrongdoings of (former prime minister) Najib (Razak).

 

"When I am satisfied, (then) I will not continue. But I cannot give the specific time as the country is in really big trouble that we cannot easily solve. We have a lot of debt and Datuk Najib has damaged the government machinery."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2019, with the headline 'Malaysia's leader decided by top PH body: Mahathir'. Print Edition | Subscribe