KUALA LUMPUR― Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that former political rival PKR’s suspicions of him are hampering the registration of Pakatan Harapan as a formal coalition.
According to a Channel News Asia report, the former prime minister said the level of mistrust was such that the Opposition parties were even having trouble deciding on what his position should be in the pact.
“(I think some of them) worry, they distrust… they feel like I’m still in the show, hijacking the party ― this kind of thinking,” he was quoted in the Channel News Asia report.
“I offered to back down. I said I will have no role at all except that (when) you ask me to give talks.”
The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman said there was particular resistance to his party’s proposal for him to be the chairman of Pakatan Harapan, which he claimed in the interview was not a position he sought.
“They find it difficult to even decide on the name for me. I’m not asking to lead or anything like that, but it is them who requested,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said there was another proposal to refer to him as executive advisor, which he labelled as ridiculous.
Pakatan Harapan has applied to the Registrar of Societies (RoS) to become a formal coalition, under which all the component parties will contest in coming elections.
But it has yet to finalise a leadership lineup that must be submitted for the registration.
Malay Mail Online previously reported that PPBM proposed for Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to be made chairman and president, respectively.
Despite repeated criticism for his refusal to discount a return to being prime minister should the opposition pact win the general election, Dr Mahathir repeated his offer again in the interview.
“If, in the end, nobody comes forward, nobody agrees to any candidate and they point out to me, it’ll be churlish of me, just because I want to retire and rest and all that, not to respond to them.
“If there are no more candidates and if all parties in the coalition agree that I should be a part time, interim prime minister, I’ll come back.”
On Saturday, jailed PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said he would not offer himself to become Pakatan Harapan’s candidate for prime minister.
Anwar, who’s currently incarcerated over sodomy charges, said debates around the issue were “tiring” as such a decision should be in the hands of voters.