KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was made prime minister twice following general elections, Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said in defence of the former whom PKR MP Nurul Izzah Anwar called a “dictator”.
He said the Permatang Pauh MP was consequently unfair to Dr Mahathir by applying the label on him in an interview with a Singaporean news outlet, during which she also expressed disappointment with the Pakatan Harapan administration’s reforms.
“He (Dr Mahathir) was chosen democratically in elections and PH (Pakatan Harapan) chose him.
“He did not appoint himself,” Hadi told reporters in the lobby of Parliament this morning.
Hadi also took the opportunity to try and goad Dr Mahathir into being severe with his Cabinet, saying this was the hallmark of a leader.
The PAS president said the prime minister should not tolerate underperforming ministers, but failed to identify those in the category.
“A leader has to be stern with weak Cabinet members,” he said.
Nurul Izzah’s remarks in The Straits Times has triggered a fresh controversy in the PH coalition.
The PM’s political secretary, Abu Bakar Yahya, said yesterday she was immature, irrational, and did not understand Dr Mahathir’s position.
Dr Mahathir also responded in kind yesterday, saying he was just as disappointed in those who said they were dissatisfied with him.
Political rivals have seized on the disagreement to try and pit PH leaders against one another after some such as PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali appeared to take sides.
Separately, Hadi declined to name the PH leader he claimed to have admitted that DAP had used Amanah to undermine PAS during the general election.