KUALA LUMPUR – Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Saturday (Sept 26) that he won’t be contesting in the general election if it were held in 2023, as he would be 98 years old then.
He was quoted by Bernama news agency in Langkawi as saying that he would be willing to offer advice to a new party that he is setting up, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air.
But the 95-year-old statesman did not indicate if he would stand in the polls if it were held soon.
The next general election is due in 2023, but there is widespread talk it could be held in the next few months.
The government of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has a slim majority in the 222-seat Parliament, and on Wednesday, opposition chief Anwar Ibrahim said he has sufficient MPs behind him to form a new government, and claimed that the Muhyiddin government has “collapsed”.
Hours later, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the president of Umno – a party allied to Tan Sri Muhyiddin’s Perikatan Nasional – said “many” of his party’s lawmakers are supporting Datuk Seri Anwar.
Tun Dr Mahathir’s Pejuang party has five MPs including himself. He has submitted an application to register the party.
Asked by reporters in his constituency of Langkawi, if there was a need to dissolve Parliament for a general election to be held following the latest political development, Dr Mahathir said the Covid-19 pandemic situation posed a threat to the plan.
“I am confident that if the general election is held now, many people will be affected by Covid-19, many will die,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama. “The question is whether we give priority to politics or the people’s lives.”