Will he or won’t he? Dr Mahathir now says supporters ‘want me not to say I won’t contest’ GE15

(MMO) – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appears to have walked back his claim that he would not be contesting the 15th general election (GE15).

Instead, the former prime minister now says he may consider leading his newly formed Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) into the next general election, because his supporters “want me not to say that I won’t contest”.

In an interview with Singapore daily The Straits Times published today, Dr Mahathir explained that his initial decision not to stand “had caused a lot of unhappiness among his supporters”.

“They still want me to say that I want to contest,” he was quoted as saying.

“It is true that most people at 95 would not be functional. I am more fortunate, I am still able to be active. But they don’t seem to think I will deteriorate when I grow older.

“They see me as I am now. So they want me, at least, not to say that I won’t contest.”

On September 26, Dr Mahathir told national news agency Bernama that he won’t be contesting GE15 if it were held in 2023, as he would be 98 years old then.

His comments, however, appeared to leave open the possibility that he may choose to do otherwise if a snap general election were to be called earlier.