Dr Mahathir will do a Chairman Mao, says Salleh Said


Umno Supreme Council member Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak today said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s choice of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the prime minister showed the former leader was bent on controlling anyone based on a system of rule by elders as practised in China.

Salleh said Dr Mahathir’s open announcement of Muhyiddin as his choice was an attempt to show that he did not want his son to take over the country’s leadership.

However, the Communications and Multimedia Minister said Dr Mahathir could still demand that Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir be appointed as Muhyiddin’s deputy.

“So by naming Muhyiddin as the next Prime Minister he is suggesting that his son is not taking over. But that does mean Mukhriz cannot be appointed the deputy prime minister while Muhyiddin becomes just a temporary prime minister,” said the Sabah Umno leader.

He was responding to a report in The Star today, quoting Dr Mahathir as saying that if the opposition wins the next general election, Muhyiddin would most likely be appointed as prime minister.

The stand is likely to draw opposition from PKR who has all the time vouched for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as its choice of prime minister.

Salleh recalled Dr Mahathir’s suggestion in 2008 to have a council of elders to guide the government.

Similarly, said Salleh, Dr Mahathir wanted to control Muhyiddin, who is president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), through his chairmanship of the new party.

“So the Prime Minister must consult the Chairman, meaning Mahathir, before making any decisions. The Prime Minister must not make any decisions by himself,” said Salleh.

He said such an arrangement was no different than the system practised followed by China’s communist party.

“In short, the Prime Minister is not independent and comes under the party Chairman who overrides the Cabinet the way Chairman Mao ran China for 31 years.”