PETALING JAYA: Nominating Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Opposition coalition's prime minister candidate will be a betrayal of the reformasi movement, said Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker.
The MCA Religious Harmony Bureau chairman said the reformasi movement was created to end Dr Mahathir's authoritarian rule and questioned whether putting him back in the premier seat will go against its own principles.
He said the movement was initiated by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when he was expelled as deputy prime minister after falling out with Dr Mahathir in 1998, and that a generation of idealistic young people craving for a cleaner political and administrative system had supported the movement in full force.
"The Reformasi movement was seen as an iota of hope to bring reform based on values and social justice and Anwar Ibrahim was seen as the 'Renaissance Man'," Ti said in a statement on Friday (Dec 29).
"To these believers , it is not about Anwar Ibrahim alone but a means and an opportunity to end the two decade rule of Dr Mahathir," he said.
He said however, Pakatan Rakyat had changed to accommodate Dr Mahathir's venture into the opposition coalition, starting with changing its name to Pakatan Harapan, then naming the former premier as chairman, and now considering him as prime minister candidate.
"The reformist movement is a calling and a desire of the people and it is not about the political charades of two 'old men'," Ti said.
He added that Anwar and Dr Mahathir should make way for younger, credible politicians with less political and personal baggage.