Stay on as PM? ‘Mana boleh tahan’, says Dr M

Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will quit after chairing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here in November. ― Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged today the rumour that a majority of MPs could support a motion for him to stay on as prime minister for the remaining term.

But he reaffirmed his stance today: He will quit after chairing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit here in November.

“I’m 94, in a few months, I’ll be 95. Mana boleh tahan? (how can I work that long?),” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying.

Dr Mahathir’s latest reassurance comes amid a purported plan to block a power transition that would see his former deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim take over as prime minister.

Last week, Opposition party PAS said it would table a motion of confidence in support of Dr Mahathir’s leadership in the upcoming Lower House sitting, a move aimed at keeping the latter in office for the electoral term.

But both Dr Mahathir and Anwar have kept a united front, with the duo repeatedly issuing statements saying the transition of power will proceed as planned.

The former said today Anwar’s assertion yesterday that the succession had been outlined clearly in a letter is accurate. The two met in Putrajaya yesterday.

“I promised to step down after the Apec summit. I will keep my promise. I’m not involved in ‘kegiatan lain’ (other activities),” Malaysiakini quoted him as saying, referring to PAS’ plan to back his leadership in Parliament.

Anwar’s rivals have nursed a whisper campaign that suggests PAS could obtain a simple majority of 138 MPs to support the motion. There are 222 federal seats in the Lower House.

Dr Mahathir is currently in Langkawi, Kedah, for a work visit.

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