Dr Mahathir offers his commiserations to Ismail Sabri, saying Zahid will be PM if BN wins GE15

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today appeared to express sympathy for rival politician Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who is currently the caretaker prime minister and has been touted as Barisan Nasional’s (BN) “poster boy” for the 15th general election (GE15).

Dr Mahathir, himself a former prime minister, cast doubt on whether Ismail Sabri would actually be prime minister again if BN wins GE15, despite an apparent “promise” by BN that he would retain his job.

Dr Mahathir pointed out that BN had not selected Umno vice-president Ismail Sabri’s allies to be fielded as GE15 candidates, suggesting that BN chairman and Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would become the next prime minister instead, if BN wins GE15.

“Pity Ismail Sabri, given the promise he would continue to be prime minister when BN wins. And he then dissolved Parliament. Now his cronies are not selected as candidates.

“He becomes weak. Many believe Zahid Hamidi’s promise that Ismail Sabri will become prime minister will remain as just a promise. The one who will be prime minister in the end is Zahid Hamidi,” the chairman of federal Opposition party Parti Pejuang Tanah Air wrote in a Facebook post this morning.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks today are similar to the slogan used by Pakatan Harapan leaders which said that a vote for Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin in the Sungai Buloh seat would allegedly equal a vote for Zahid, thereby inferring that Zahid would be the prime minister if BN wins enough seats in GE15 to form a government.

Ismail Sabri was sworn in on August 21, 2021 as Malaysia’s ninth prime minister. This was a departure from previous convention where the head of Umno or BN would also be the prime minister in a BN-led federal government.

In GE15, Ismail Sabri will be defending Bera, a parliamentary seat in Pahang, which he has held for four terms from 2004 to 2022.

At the same time, Zahid will be defending Bagan Datuk, a parliamentary seat in Perak which he has held for six terms from 1995 to 2022.

Zahid was recently released from his corruption charges in the High Court in Shah Alam, in relation to alleged bribes received from a company awarded a government contract for a foreign visa system. The prosecution is appealing this.

But Zahid still faces 47 charges in a separate trial in the High Court in Kuala Lumpur, namely 12 counts of criminal breach of trust in relation to over RM31 million of charitable foundation Yayasan Akalbudi’s funds, 27 counts of money-laundering, and eight counts of bribery charges over RM21.25 million in alleged bribes.