KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he is willing to work with political ally-turned-enemy Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin if they can reach a consensus on mutual goals, indicating a potential reconciliation between the two leaders after their previous alliance in his 2018 administration.
New portal Malaysia Now reported Dr Mahathir stressing the importance of championing Malay causes while rejecting those who are involved in corruption and criminal misconduct.
“We want to work together, but the end goals must be set out,” he was quoted saying.
In the report, Dr Mahathir said the Malays have divided themselves into various political power, which he claimed has weakened their collective strength and hindered efforts to address their concerns.
He also said that unity among Malays is crucial to rectify the prevailing circumstances that are detrimental to their community.
“We have split into many parties, and we have lost power. When we lose power, we cannot correct the circumstances which are detrimental to the Malays. This is why we need to unite,” he reportedly added.
Dr Mahathir formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia alongside Muhyiddin in 2016, with him as chairman and the latter as president. The party was then part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which successfully ended Barisan Nasional (BN)’s six-decade rule in the 14th general election in 2018.
However, Dr Mahathir was subsequently removed from Bersatu following the Sheraton Move, which caused the collapse of the PH administration and led to the formation of the Muhyiddin administration.
Dr Mahathir then formed Parti Pejuang Tanahair and the Gerakan Tanah Air coalition, but discarded them after their dismal performance in the 15th general election last year.
In the report, the former Langkawi MP expressed doubts over Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's commitment to Malay rights.
“Even when it comes to religion, it seems as if his views are not accepted by the Malays. This is why I cannot work with him. I am ready to work with people who understand the problems faced by the Malays,” he said, referring to Anwar whom he had imprisoned in 1998 — leading to the Reformasi movement.
He also added that Malays no longer support Umno — Dr Mahathir's first party, which is now part of the ruling coalition — since they have allegedly lost confidence in the party's ability to address their concerns, citing Umno's poor performance in the GE15.
“This is why we need to unite. But who is in favour of unity? Not those who are involved in corruption or who have been sentenced to prison and so on.
“The Malay voters are thinking about the problems they face. They want someone who cares about their plight and who can do something to fix their issues,” he reportedly said.