World

Mahathir: I’ll be PM for 2 years if Pakatan wins

KUALA LUMPUR Former Malaysian prime minister and now opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad said he will be prime minister for two years should Pakatan Harapan (PH) win the 14th general election.

"I can't stay for long. At the most, I can last two years," Dr Mahathir, 92, told The Mainichi Shimbun in an interview last month.

However, he said he is still up for the fight against the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN) in the general election. The BN is considered to have the upper hand in the upcoming polls, which must be held by August.

"I decided to eventually form a party, and this party needs to work with other opposition parties if it is going to contest against BN," he said.

Dr Mahathir has said he is likely to stand in the Langkawi or Kubang Pasu parliamentary ward, both in Kedah state, or in the Putrajaya seat.

Prime Minister Najib Razak's BN holds a majority in Parliament but lost the popular vote for the first time at the last polls.

But the opposition has since fractured, with Parti Islam SeMalaysiacooperating with the ruling Umno on some issues.

PH, an alliance of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Dr Mahathir's pro-Malay Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the Chinese-centric Democratic Action Party and moderate Islamic party Parti Amanah Negara, announced last month that Dr Mahathir is the opposition's candidate for prime minister.

His candidacy drew protests from certain quarters, who hold him responsible for decisions during his 22-year tenure which eroded the independence of national institutions and curbed civil liberties, reported The Malaysian Insight.

He told Mainichi that if he wins, he intends to hand over the role of prime minister to jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim when he is released from prison. Anwar is set to be released in June, but he cannot run for political office for five years after his release, unless he is pardoned by the King.

Dr Mahathir said in the interview that the opposition coalition will do its best to obtain a royal pardon.

WORLD