LANGKAWI: Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Friday (Feb 13) dismissed allegations and speculations on attempts to keep him as prime minister for the rest of the electoral term.
He reiterated that he will keep his promise to handover the prime minister post to his successor after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in November.
“I promised to step down after APEC, so I will keep to my promise. I am not involved with anything else, only the promise to step down and I will step down,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s statement was in response to claims that 138 Members of Parliament had signed statutory declarations in support of him completing a full term as the prime minister.
He said he has no knowledge of how the figure came about.
“Pakatan Harapan (PH) has the majority in Parliament today. This 138 figure is the work of others and I have no knowledge as to how they came up with this. In other words, there must be PH support to get this figure,” he told reporters.
When asked if he was aware of the statutory declarations, he said that he heard “all sorts of things” including claims that he would stay as prime minister for “20 more years”.
“I am 94-years-old, 95 in another few months, so quite impossible,” he added.
TRANSITION OF POWER ISSUE
Dr Mahathir said on Friday that the power transition has been a subject of interest as it was constantly being talked about in media.
"The press gets excited ... where there is controversy, there is news. So to the press, if both Anwar Ibrahim and I do not get along, for instance, the better for them to sell their stories,” he said.
He added that some of Pakatan's leaders only talk about the issue because they were asked by the media.
“The Pakatan Harapan leaders come out with statements because they were asked about it by the media, otherwise there will none."
In a statement on Thursday, Anwar said he had met Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya to discuss the transition plan for the post of prime minister.
Anwar also claimed that Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, a group from the United Malays National Organisation and a handful of Parti Keadilan Rakyat members were involved in efforts to gather signatures to support Dr Mahathir’s leadership until the end of the full term.
Anwar said that Dr Mahathir was not involved in these efforts and added that the prime minister would hand over power as promised.