MALAYSIAN opposition leader Mahathir Mohamad has said that he would only need two years as prime minister to fix “problems” inherited from his predecessor.
Speaking during a live video session on Facebook on Wednesday, former PM Mahathir said that he was confident he could “solve the problems left behind” from the incumbent Najib Razak, who has been dogged by major corruption allegations over the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
“To me, if the next prime minister had never taken up the post of PM before, without experience, two years may not be sufficient for him to solve the problems,” said Mahathir on Wednesday, as quoted by Free Malaysia Today.
Known as Dr M, he was Malaysia’s longest-ever serving leader from 1981 until 2003, as part of a political career that has spanned more than seven decades. Last month, Mahathir was announced as the prime ministerial candidate for opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (Pact of Hope).
“I have been the PM for 22 years, I don’t need to relearn the responsibilities of a PM. I know the responsibilities of a PM and what he should do,” said the 93-year-old, who while in power was labelled by many as a dictator.
“But even so, to be able to solve all these problems takes a long time. In the next two years, we may not be able to solve all the problems, but we will be able to improvise certain guidelines in order to work towards solving these problems.”
Prime Minister Najib has until June 24 to call the country’s next election, an announcement for which he has said he is waiting for “inspiration”. “Whether we wait until June or make it earlier, we’ll see how things develop.”
He faces an unprecedented challenge from Mahathir, who was his former mentor as part of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), at the forthcoming polls.
An electoral win for Dr M would make him the world’s oldest head of state and would represent the first time UMNO has been defeated in Malaysia.
“When I become PM, I will exercise these ideas and improvements that I have outlined to solve the problems that were left behind by Najib,” he said.