Dr M admits meeting opposition, tightlipped on Azmin’s presence

(Malaysiakini) – Dr Mahathir Mohamad admitted there was a meeting with opposition leaders, which is speculated to be related to the prime minister’s post.

However, the premier downplayed the issue, saying he meets with various individuals often, including representatives from NGOs.

“Did you spy on me?” he replied when quizzed on a news report regarding the meeting at a press conference in Putrajaya this morning.

“The meeting happened but I meet everyone, not just the opposition, even NGOs.

“As you know, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang says he supports me all the time. Nothing new,” he added.

On whether Umno and GPS leaders were present, Mahathir said: “They came to see me, so I met them. I heard what they wanted to say. A lot of them expressed support for me. Thank you very much.”

However, when asked if Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali was at the meeting, the premier, with his trademark sarcasm, responded: “This is a secret meeting, I cannot tell you.”

Quoting a source, The Star reported that opposition leaders had met Mahathir on Tuesday night to pledge their support for him to serve out a full term.

According to the report, those present were reportedly former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein, PAS vice-president Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, and secretary-general Takiyuddin Hassan, as well as GPS chief whip Fadillah Yusof.

The Star also claimed that Mahathir had asked a high-ranking Pakatan Harapan minister to attend the meeting, but did not mention the individual’s name.

Previously, Azmin had said he “welcomed” Hadi’s support for Mahathir to stay on as prime minister for a full term.

He said this would ensure the necessary stability to implement institutional reforms and measures to revive the economy.

Mahathir has repeatedly said he will keep to his promise to step down and hand over the reins to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.

Nevertheless, he accepted a written commitment of support from PAS lawmakers should there be a move within Harapan to oust him.

At the same time, Mahathir has been shoring up the number of MPs in his party Bersatu by accepting defectors from Umno.