The mission was always to oust Najib, Dr M tells party

(MMO) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged PPBM’s desire for him to remain prime minister, but told his party that his shortened term was the price of the cohesion needed to remove Datuk Seri Najib Razak from office.

In his speech at the second PPBM annual general assembly (AGM) here, the Langkawi MP said his agreement to cede the position to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim after two years was a precondition to the successful formation of the four-component Pakatan Harapan.

Dr Mahathir led the motley collection of parties to an unlikely victory in the 14th general election, successfully deposing Najib and handing Barisan Nasional its only ever electoral defeat.

“[What] was more important at that time was to defeat Najib.

“For this, we have to sacrifice. I have to sacrifice. I had to accept the terms because what’s important was not to become prime minister, but to topple Datuk Seri Najib,” Dr Mahathir said in his winding-up speech at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) here.

A Kelantan delegate earlier suggested Dr Mahathir remain prime minister until the 15th general election, news portal Malaysiakini reported.

This is not the first time such a proposal has come from PPBM. In October, the party’s Setiawangsa division said that Dr Mahathir should be given a chance to complete his full five-year term as prime minister.

However, Dr Mahathir repeated that he will make way for PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as agreed.

Today, Dr Mahathir also compared Umno and PPBM, telling the delegates that the latter is open to dissent.

“This is freedom, isn’t it? There was no order that this topic cannot be mentioned, like that one party.

“What is the use of a convention if there is a ban on free speech?

“I accept all your criticisms well. We believe that without criticism we will go wayward. Like a mirror, if we cannot see our face in the mirror, we won’t know if we are pretty or ugly,” he said, courting laughter from the floor.