I can’t be PM at 100, Mahathir Mohamad quips on bill to limit prime minister’s tenure

Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad has promised to step down before the next general election as agreed by the Pakatan Harapan coalition before it won last year's polls.PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3, 2019, FMT. Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared supportive of a constitutional amendment that would limit the prime minister’s tenure to a maximum of two terms, ahead of the bill to be tabled for first reading later today, Free Malaysia Today reported.

“I’m 94 years old. You want me to be prime minister at 100?” he quipped in a press conference at Parliament.

The Constitution (Amendment) Bill 2019 will be tabled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Liew Vui Keong.

On a separate matter, Mahathir said Kadir Jasin’s suggestion that PKR president Anwar Ibrahim be appointed as a special functions minister was his personal opinion.

Kadir, who is the prime minister’s special adviser on media and communications, had said in a blogpost that it was time to re-look Anwar’s role in the government.

He was responding to the possibility of a Cabinet reshuffle following Pakatan Harapan’s dismal performance at the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor.

“In Malaysia, we are free to speak,” Mahathir said. “Anybody can make any kind of suggestion.

“I listen to what everybody has to say. Not all of it we agree with. A lot of ideas about the Cabinet reshuffle are freedom of speech.

“You can ask what you like. But whether I respond or not, what I think, is kept to myself. I don’t have to reveal my thoughts to everybody.”

Earlier this month, Mahathir said he was considering a Cabinet reshuffle, possibly before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next year.

He said a decision on the reshuffle would be made after he had analysed and studied the performance of the current ministers.

Later, during a working trip to South Korea, he said he would only remove useless ministers but that for now they were all useful.

“It doesn’t mean when you make changes, it will be better. It can be worse. So I have to think very carefully,” he was reported as saying. He also said he had appointed the wrong people in the past.

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