KUALA LUMPUR: The subject of how long Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will serve as the seventh Prime Minister before PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim succeeds him has been discussed widely by politicians and members of the public. Talking to CNN, Dr Mahathir said if the people wanted him to serve beyond the time agreed with his coalition partners, he would stay in power. Dr Mahathir who formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) joined forces with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to oust BN, a move which also saw him teaming up with Anwar, his former deputy prime minister whom he sacked in 1998. Anwar was subsequently jailed for corruption apart from being charged with sodomy. The 93-year-old politician remarked that his personal opinion of Anwar did not matter. "If the condition for us working together is my serving as Prime Minister for two years or three years, for me that is not important. I will abide by the wishes of the people. "I have to trust him whether I like it or not. I can't be here all the time," he was quoted as saying by CNN. Commenting on winning the 14th General Election (GE14), Dr Mahathir told CNN that he inherited a government saddled with corruption and many officials who could not be trusted. Stating that while the damage could be seen from the outside, Dr Mahathir said they had not expected the damage to be 'so extensive'. "Most of the top echelons in the government are corrupt," he said. He added that it was a very difficult job to work with 'some of those people who are suspect'. "..If you don't work with people you trust, you don't know whether what you want them to do will be done or not," Dr Mahathir said. Touching on foreign relations, with China, commenting On Malaysia cancelling the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project which is backed by China, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia has always been friendly with China, and that Malaysia 'cannot go to war with them'. Dr Mahathir said Malaysia welcomed China-backed mega projects however he did not want the government or businesses to be reliant on borrowing money from them. "They are more powerful, and we cannot fight against them, (so) how do we benefit from their wealth and their power? That's what we are looking at now. "We have to accept the reality of the situation," Dr Mahathir said. The Langkawi MP also spoke about terrorism in the CNN interview, blaming extremist religious leaders for fueling violence. Saying that Malaysia tried to fight terrorism using sophisticated methods and new technology, Dr Mahathir pointed out that it was the cause of terrorism that needed to be tackled. "Islam that you see today is not actually the Islam that is taught by the religion. It is the Islam interpreted by certain powerful people, leaders, scholars and all that," he was quoted as saying. Dr Mahathir explained that Islam as stated in the Quran is moderate, which called upon Muslims to be brothers. "..It forbids killing, but (they) are doing all those things which are forbidden by Islam," he said.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who formed Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) joined forces with Pakatan Harapan (PH) to oust BN, a move which also saw him teaming up with Anwar, his former deputy prime minister whom he sacked in 1998. (NSTP / MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN)
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