Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad, 92, to run again for PM


The coalition, which includes the party led by jailed former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, also said they will seek a royal pardon for him so that Anwar can take over from Mahathir as the next prime minister.

"But at the same time, the coalition's opponents may use this as ammunition and highlight the lack of capable leaders within PH (Pakatan Harapan), having to rely on a 92-year old former premier with his own baggage".

He likened such desperate arrangement to the rotation of Chief Ministers in Sabah in the mid-1990s when Dr Mahathir was Prime Minister which also created problems in the State's administration and did not benefit Sabah and the people due to changes of policies and approaches.

With the country's most popular opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim now in jail on sodomy charges, the authoritarian who ran the country for two decades is seen as the biggest threat for current premier Najib Razak, who must call an election by August. Mahathir Mohamad is 92.

"Now for the opposition to nominate Dr Mahathir as their prime minister candidate is clearly pushing Malaysia back to the dark days of a democrazy dictator who had destroyed our democracy, judiciary and our monarchy system", said the MIC treasurer in a statement yesterday.

Malaysia's political opposition alliance may have settled on Mahathir Mohammad as its candidate for prime minister in the upcoming general election, but it still has to appease an internal revolt and convince voters of its controversial candidate. The US Justice Department has alleged in civil lawsuits that about $4.5 billion was misappropriated. Najib denies any wrongdoing and has cracked down hard, purging critics from his government and curbing domestic investigations.

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When he was the prime minister, Dr Mahathir sacked Anwar and then vilified him when he was thrown in jail on sodomy and corruption charges. Anwar has condemned his convictions as politically motivated.

The opposition hopes that Mahathir will boost its chances with Muslim Malays, who make up over 60 percent of the population, with the rest comprising mainly ethnic Chinese and Indians.

Mahathir told The Associated Press in an interview previous year that the opposition could win a simple majority in the polls by tapping into anger at Najib's corruption scandal and rising cost of living. "I also hope Sabah will have a strong government, preferably a new one to deal with the federal government, one that will respect the state government irrespective of their political leaning", he said.

The opposition, however, looks unlikely to unseat the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, according to a survey conducted by independent polling firm Merdeka Center in December.

He led the opposition to significant electoral gains in the last general election in 2013.

On the other hand, the opposition is weaker following Anwar's jailing and the death of spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat of Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS), both in February 2015.