CIRCUMSTANCES had forced Pakatan Harapan chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad to defer his retirement plans and accept the candidacy for opposition prime minister.
Dr Mahathir said he did not want to accept the nomination as he had wished to retire, but had to give in to the many people who wanted him to reprise his role as leader of the country.
“I’m tired. I have had no rest since 1945.
“It’s not that I want to become the prime minister (again). If possible, I don’t want to, but then others will say (DAP adviser Lim) Kit Siang will become the prime minister,” Dr Mahathir said at a meet-the-people event at the Kukup Golf and Country Resort Club in Johor today.
Barisan Nasional leaders such as Umno Supreme Council member Rahman Dahlan and MCA president Liow Tiong Lai have previously warned that Lim would become the prime minister if PH won the 14th general election.
A study conducted by the Yusof Ishak Institute (Iseas) between May and June last year found that 48.4% of 1,100 Malay respondents supported BN because they were afraid of DAP.
Study researcher Wan Saiful Wan Jan said 85% of Malays in Johor did not favour DAP.
“DAP’s strength in this state elicits fear among rural Malay voters. They see a vote for Bersatu to be a vote for DAP as the two parties are in the same coalition,” Wan Saiful said in the study report published by Iseas.
Dr Mahathir today said it was a pity that his successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had failed to rule the country well and had cancelled the mega projects that Dr Mahathir had planned, including the “crooked bridge” from Johor Baru and Singapore.
“A week after I stepped down, Pak Lah (Abdullah) cancelled the projects planned during my administration even though he had promised to continue them. How can we have a prime minister like that?” he asked.
The 93-year-old said he had backed current Prime Minister Najib Razak because of the contributions his father, Razak Hussein, had made to Malaysia: “But Najib is not like his father, who is known as the father of development.”
He also criticised Najib for 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which he said did not benefit the country.
Dr Mahathir said he had not decided where to stand in the next general election, but hinted he had three choices – his old constituency Kubang Pasu, Langkawi, and Putrajaya.
“I have not made a decision. Umno has never lost in Langkawi,”he said.
Also present were Amanah deputy president Salahuddin Ayub, Johor Amanah president Aminolhuda Hassan and Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong.