Two of the nation’s oldest politicians today announced that they would join hands to contribute to the nation, but offered few details of their plan.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 95, and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, 83, in a joint press conference, said they were making the announcement ahead of the third reading of the 2021 budget tomorrow, where any defeat for the ruling bloc would lead to the collapse of the Perikatan Nasional government.
The pair, who fought a bitter battle for the Umno top post in 1987 leading to a split in the party, said they would like to contribute to the nation again to restore Malaysia’s status as an “Asian tiger”.
Mahathir said Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s government could be toppled tomorrow but stopped short of offering himself as a prime ministerial candidate.
He also denied that Warisan president Shafie Apdal’s announcement of extending his Sabah-based party to the peninsula was linked to today’s announcement.
“If the government falls, there will be a need for a new government. Unless we have a general election, the only way to form a new government is for the 222 MPs to choose the government and to form a government that is dedicated to serving the people.
“I hope there are enough MPs who want to see this country recover and be developed as before,” said Mahathir.
Razaleigh meanwhile said he had decided to join Mahathir despite being part of Umno.
“I am sharing a platform with Tun (Mahathir) because I want to make sure we have a legitimate government. The government today is not a legitimate government and the prime minister in office today is not a legitimate prime minister,” said Razaleigh, who served as finance minister during Mahathir’s first term.
Razaleigh also dismissed suggestions that he could be submitted to disciplinary action by his party.
“What disciplinary action? Everybody can support whoever they want to support,” said Razaleigh, better known as Ku Li.
He said while the government had done well in the initial stage, the economic situation was taking a turn for the worse.
He said people have “no food on the table”, while the poor are getting poorer.
He added that the youth have “lost confidence” in the government.
“As such, we hope we can improve the situation. This is not empty talk. I believe Malaysians will come forth to help, we the elders can guide them.
“This is the world of the young, and the tomorrow of theirs, not ours. Bring back the tiger in us.”
Mahathir, who leads three other MPs under his Pejuang opposition bloc, also accused the government of being more interested in politics and without any strategy to address the Covid-19 crisis.
The former prime minister had last month criticised Pakatan Harapan MPs for not forcing a bloc vote on the 2021 budget, which saw the budget easily passed by voice vote.
He said today that he had not discussed with PKR president Anwar Ibrahim his plan in the event that the government loses the third reading of the budget tomorrow.
He said he was not answerable to Anwar although the latter is the parliamentary opposition leader.
“We are not under him. He is named the opposition leader but he does not control us. We can do what we like, that is a given where the Parliament is concerned,” Mahathir said.
“I have no need to place support or loyalty to an opposition leader.”