Dr M’s double portfolio just temporary, Pakatan leaders say

Anith Adilah
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks during a press conference at PPBM headquarters in Petaling Jaya May 17, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will handle the Education Ministry only in the interim, said Pakatan Harapan leaders today.

The pact pledged in its manifesto that the prime minister would not control any other ministry.

Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chief strategist Datuk Rais Hussin told Malay Mail that the double portfolio will be further discussed among members of the presidential council.

“Although the double portfolio may be temporary, it does not compromise the people’s best interests. In rare circumstances, exceptions can be applied as long as the decision places rakyat’s best interests in mind.

“The manifesto was done carefully and tactfully. If the decision would have bad impact on the people, Tun would not have taken on two roles. It still needs to be deliberated,” he said when contacted.

Earlier today, Dr Mahathir announced that he would helm the Education Ministry,.

Rais said the public should not only scrutinise this announcement as PH had already delivered on other pledges.

“We have done some of the things we promised like abolishing Goods & Services Tax (GST). Give us some time to execute other promises as written in the manifesto. Trust that we only want the best for the people,” he said.

PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang echoed Rais’ sentiment, adding that the whole restructuring process of the government is still ongoing and that “nothing is set in stone yet”.

“This is temporary. We are at the beginning of a government. People must understand that we are aiming for major reforms… we need to still sort out the structure of the Cabinet.

“Tun has said before he is going to keep the appointments slim for various reasons including cost-cutting. Let him sort out the whole thing first,” he said.

He said it is best to trust Dr Mahathir’s decision as the 92-year old must have had his reasons for naming himself as the education minister.

“When Tun said he wants to assume the education portfolio, it must mean that Tun has a few ideas on how to better enhance the education system, like improvement of language skills, so maybe let’s let him do it for a while,” he said.

DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang took to Twitter to admit his ignorance about the violation of PH’s manifesto pledge.

“Confess I am stumped myself. Apart from prime minister cannot be Finance Minister, (I am) not aware that Pakatan manifesto proposed Prime Minister cannot hold another portfolio.”