PAS research centre director Mohd Zuhdi Marzuki has painted a bleak future for Malaysia if Dr Mahathir Mohamad becomes prime minister again.
He argued that rational people would find it difficult to accept the 92-year-old politician at the helm again.
According to Zuhdi, Malaysians are still burdened by the damage inflicted by Mahathir through his policies and administrative practices during the two decades he was prime minister.
“During Mahathir’s rule, he had centralised power by making the powers of the prime minister so wide until there was interference in the legislative and judiciary.
“When he was prime minister, he succeeded in curtailing the powers of the Malay rulers through two amendments to the Federal Constitution in 1983 and 1993,” he added in a statement.
Zuhdi also pointed out that Mahathir had violated agreements with state governments such as in the royalty for petroleum.
“If Mahathir becomes prime minister again, it is certain he will be more of an iron fist ruler than before,” he warned.
The PAS central committee member also claimed that Mahathir’s economic policies and practices had incurred losses for the country and the people.
“Because of these policies and practices, the people are still shouldering the burden such as the increase in living cost, rising household debt and the widening gap between the rich and poor,” he added.
Zuhdi cited Mahathir’s privatisation policy as an example and noted the increase in toll rates, water and electricity tariffs, higher education loans and others.
The PAS researcher also claimed there were negative social implications as well such as reducing the role of Bahasa Malaysia as the national language.
“He introduced the teaching of science and mathematics in English, which directly eroded the role of the national language in education.
“During Mahathir’s era, there was also the liberalisation of higher education to the point of the national language being sidelined in the higher education level,” he added.
Apart from this, Zuhdi also claimed there was no significant success in fostering racial ties, eradicating drug abuse and reducing the crime rate during Mahathir’s rule.
He also warned that nominating Mahathir as Pakatan Harapan’s prime minister candidate would sound the death knell for the reformasi movement kickstarted by Anwar Ibrahim two decades ago.
“Without the intention of interfering in Harapan’s internal affairs, PAS research centre is of the view that they should put forth a candidate who can continue the reformasi agenda,” he added.
In an immediate response, Johor DAP publicity secretary Sheikh Omar Ali told Zuhdi not to poke his nose into Harapan’s affairs and “pretend to be good” by defending Anwar’s reformasi ideals.
He pointed out that during the 13th general election, PAS nominated Umno veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah for the prime minister post instead of Anwar.
“In the absence of a stern voice from PAS to criticise Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, Zuhdi’s criticism is seen as just another move which reveals PAS’ role in strengthening Najib and BN’s position,” he said in a statement.
Yesterday, Mahathir downplayed the possibility of becoming prime minister again, saying that Harapan has not made a final decision on this.
The Harapan chairperson said he might be nominated if the “people are desperate” and in the absence of other choices.
Following the coalition’s recent pre-general election retreat, news reports surfaced that Harapan nominated Mahathir for the prime minister’s post and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail for deputy prime minister.