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I am not answerable to Anwar, says Dr Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR — Even though Dr Mahathir Mohamad is part of the Malaysian opposition bloc, the former Malaysian Prime Minister said he was not beholden to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or his instructions.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Dec 14, 2020.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad attends a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Dec 14, 2020.

KUALA LUMPUR — Even though Dr Mahathir Mohamad is part of the Malaysian opposition bloc, the former Malaysian Prime Minister said he was not beholden to opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim or his instructions.

The 95-year-old explained that Mr Anwar had no right to tell him or other opposition parliamentarians what to do, and he does not necessarily need to follow instructions from the People's Justice Party president.

“Opposition leader doesn’t command the opposition members. We are not under him. He is named opposition leader but doesn’t control us. We can do what we like, that is the given thing where parliament is concerned.

“There is no need to pledge support, loyalty and all that to the opposition leader,” Dr Mahathir said in a press conference at Yayasan Albukhary in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (Dec 14).

Dr Mahathir also said that instead of collecting statutory declarations on the MPs’ support, it should be put to a test when voting for the budget on Tuesday.

The Pejuang chairman said he chose to side with the opposition as he did not believe in the Perikatan Nasional government, but the opposition’s role was to defend people’s rights.

“I am with the opposition, yes, because I cannot be with the government. It’s not being the opposition that counts.

“My dedication is to the country, the opposition can only be useful if they can do something for the country,” Dr Mahathir said.

He added that this was fuelled by his pledge in 2015 to join Pakatan Harapan (PH) to remove the Najib Razak administration, which was seemingly corrupt only to have PH being removed after 22 months.

“I joined the opposition because I want to change a kleptocratic government into a proper government but now the kleptocratic government has managed to oust the elected government and take over the country,” Dr Mahahtir said.

Dr Mahathir and 12 others stood up during a request for a division vote in the budget 2021 voting. However, the rest of the opposition including Mr Anwar refrained from following suit and the opposition lost out on a voice vote.

After the vote, there was backlash from the public of the inaction of the opposition bloc.

Dr Mahathir on Monday said he would be willing enough to facilitate the transition of a new government if the Muhyiddin administration collapses after the budget is voted down tomorrow in Parliament. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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Mahathir Mohamad Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim Malaysian politics

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