KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's claims that he is being 'forced' to become the opposition's prime ministerial candidate if it wins the 14th General Election should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Politicians opined that given the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman's record with U-turns and double-talk, the public should be wary of his latest claim.
MCA religious harmony bureau chairman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said he was not surprised by Dr Mahathir's latest statement.
"Making U-turns and issuing contradicting statements is expected of him, and he seems to have a steady track record in double-talk," he said.
Ti claimed that Dr Mahathir, 92, had been lobbying to return to the prime minister's post for some time.
"Despite strong objections from various quarters, including Selangor PKR, why would he still agree to the recent announcement (on his nomination as the opposition's PM-candidate) made at the Pakatan Harapan Convention in Shah Alam?
"If you really want to rest then make it clear. But that's not the truth in this case. Even after Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took over as the premier after him, he did not allow Abdullah to carry out his duties as prime minister without interference.
"He brought so much trouble for Abdullah despite saying that he would retire quietly," Ti claimed.
Ti said the credibility of the opposition parties is now at its worst as their leaders were the same ones who had previously urged for him to step down when he was PM for 22 years.
Ti said it was a "big joke" that Dr Mahathir is being touted as Pakatan Harapan's only hope to lead the country.
"It's as if there is no single person in any of the opposition parties capable of becoming the PM. This is really sad," Ti said.
He also cautioned that Dr Mahathir has a record for ensuring that he gets what he wants.
He claimed that 'Mahathirism' which was once evident in Barisan Nasional and Umno through him has now seeped into Pakatan Harapan, to ensure he gets what he desires.
Dr Mahathir, at an event in Pontian yesterday, had said that all he wanted was to rest and that he was being 'forced' to take on the role of the prime ministerial candidate for the opposition if they win GE14.
Meanwhile, Kelantan Umno information chief Datuk Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad said Pakatan Harapan should review their candidate for the PM role.
"This is about leading a nation. How can a person who claims to be tired and is being 'forced', is going to uphold the responsibility and take us forward?" he questioned.
Mohd Alwi said the PM candidate should be someone who is full of energy and enthusiastic about moving forward.
"Naming Dr Mahathir as the PM if opposition wins GE14 is akin to appointing someone from the past with his old ways to lead the future," Mohd Alwi said.
Meanwhile, MIC treasurer-general Datuk Seri S. Vell Paari, was sarcastic in his opinion of Dr Mahathir's claims.
"Since he has brought it up many times that he wants to rest from politics, I think it's very mean of Pakatan Harapan to force him to take up the PM post, if it were to win the election.
"Let him enjoy his retirement with his grandchildren," he said.
He added that if indeed Dr Mahathir is being 'forced' into the position, it clearly shows that the coalition cannot find a single credible candidate among its three political parties to become the PM. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd