Can Dr Mahathir be trusted, asks The Economist


The intentions of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s chairman are still a doubt for Opposition political parties previously impacted by his authority in government.

(FMT) – Has Dr Mahathir Mohamad really changed or is he still the same shrewd and tough politician he has always been?

That is the question that an international business magazine asks in a commentary simply entitled “Can a leopard change its spots?”

The extent of Mahathir’s conversion to the Opposition still remains a doubt despite his obvious disdain for Prime Minister Najib Razak, The Economist reported.

“Less certain is whether, given a choice, he and his party would stop short of ousting Umno altogether. Previous splinters from Umno have eventually reattached themselves to the party,” the article said, adding that the government claims Mahathir’s real goal is to install his son Mukhriz Mahathir as prime minister.

As reported previously, Mahathir has dismissed any suggestion that he wants to return to Umno nor merge his new party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) with Umno in the event of Najib’s ouster from the ruling party under any circumstances.

Mahathir was quoted as saying that he once thought that replacing the prime minister would be enough to put Umno back on track, but has since changed his opinion because “Najib has totally corrupted the party, which now just functions to support him.”

The Economist report added that Mahathir went as far as saying that there was no way PPBM would consider a deal that leaves Umno in government, even under a new leader, because “the time for Umno is over.”