PETALING JAYA: A promise on the leadership transition remains but a prime minister must command the support of the majority in Parliament, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“We have promised, ” he said in an interview with Malaya Post TV last night.
“Even if I wanted to break the promise, I can only be PM if I have the majority support in Parliament.
“But if the majority of the Dewan Rakyat rejected me, I will fall, that’s democracy.
“Members of Parliament hold the power to decide. If I don’t have the majority support, I can’t be the prime minister.”
He said this when asked to comment on the leadership transition as certain factions in Parliament, including PAS, had openly expressed their views that Dr Mahathir should serve the full term instead of handing over power to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Dr Mahathir noted that Dewan Rakyat could even reject anyone nominated by a party with the highest number of seats.
The issue of power transition was brought to the fore as no formal timeframe has been set for it.
However, the 94-year-old Dr Mahathir has repeatedly said that he would abide by his promise to hand over the premiership to Anwar.
Last February, Anwar said he expected to be prime minister in no more than two years’ time, adding that Dr Mahathir must be given enough space to govern effectively during “very difficult and trying times”.
Prior to GE14, Pakatan leaders from Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, PKR, DAP and Parti Amanah Negara agreed in a consensus that Anwar would be the eighth Prime Minister, replacing Dr Mahathir, should the coalition win.
Dr Mahathir yesterday noted that the decision-making power on the premiership was in the hands of MPs.
He also said politicians treat issues faced by the rakyat seriously.
“If they (politicians) are only interested in positions and do not care about the rakyat’s problem, they won’t last.
“If we fail to resolve the woes faced by the majority, the rakyat will reject us (in the next general election), ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also revealed that DAP was not happy that he attended Gerakan’s Chinese New Year Open House.
“They are my friends. It is a social event, not a political event. I can’t ditch my friends because of political differences, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also denied he was trying to create a new political alliance following talks of a formation of Muafakat Nasional.
“My meetings with political rivals was misconstrued as attempts to forge a new alliance, ” he said.