Kuala Lumpur, Jan 30 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has described the move by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to contest the Kajang by-election as a step to fulfill his desire to become prime minister.
The former prime minister said it was a step to move up and Anwar would not stop at that.
“I think this is not his objective but another step towards meeting his objective (of becoming prime minister),” he told reporters after an interview on a Bernama Radio24 programme ‘Dalam Radar Khas’ at Wisma Bernama here Wednesday.
Dr Mahathir was commenting on Anwar’s move to contest in the Kajang by-election in a plan to become Selangor menteri besar.
Tuesday, Anwar was nominated as PKR candidate for the Kajang by-election, should there be a contest after the seat was left vacant by incumbent Lee Chin Cheh of PKR.
Two days ago, Lee vacated the Kajang state seat which he had won in the General Election last May, with a 6,824 majority in a six-cornered fight with Barisan Nasional (BN), Berjasa and three independent candidates.
Asked if Anwar’s move was seen as that of someone power-crazy, Dr Mahathir said: “At the start, I did not know whether he was power-crazy or not, and he did not join Umno because he loved the party. If he was not a member of Umno, he could not be prime minister.
“If he joined PAS, it would be impossible for him to become prime minister…so, contesting the by-election is merely an excuse towards meeting his higher objective.”
Asked if Anwar’s contest in the by-election was related to his sodomy case to pressure the government, the former prime minister said he did not know whether it was related directly or not.
“But if he wins the by-election, it is another stage closer to becoming prime minister when he could do many things to protect himself,” he said.
Commenting on whether BN should put up a candidate in the by-election, Dr Mahathir said it was up to the coalition to decide.
“It is up to the wisdom of the BN leadership to determine who is eligible to contest in the constituency.
“And when a decision is made, there should not be any protest, all should hold to the spirit of the party coalition they support,” he said.
Commenting on the stand of voters in choosing the new state assemblyman, he said the people should take into consideration the performance and character of the person, as well as his contribution to the country.
“If the person fights just to become prime minister or menteri besar, I think we should not choose that person. Select one who will serve the people,” he said. On Anwar’s statement that BN need not put up a candidate in the by-election to avoid wastage, Dr Mahathir said: “If possible, the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) resigns and he (Anwar) takes over as prime minister, that would be the best thing for him (Anwar).”
Earlier when answering a question in the radio programme on Anwar’s plan to become Selangor menteri besar, he said Anwar had always yearned to be the head of a government.
“If the higher position is not available, a less senior one will do, with the hope that the people will appreciate and help him fulfill his dream of becoming the prime minister.”
On PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli’s statement that putting Anwar as the by-election candidate was a move to topple the government, Dr Mahathir said that was his interpretation.
He said the move to topple the existing government started when he (Dr Mahathir) still prime minister and the task of the opposition was to bring down the ruling party to enable the opposition to rule.