Dr Mahathir Mohamad today gave the strongest signal yet that he will not be contesting in the 14th general election (GE14) due next year.
The 91-year-old former prime minister brushed aside a challenge from Umno’s Nazri Aziz to take him on in his parliamentary constituency of Padang Rengas.
Mahathir said Nazri knew he had no plan to run at all, and made a sarcastic jibe at the tourism and culture minister for being “brave”.
“This challenge shows how brave Nazri is. This is because Nazri knows I have no intention to contest in the upcoming election,” Mahathir wrote in the latest posting on his blog.
He described Nazri’s dare as an “empty challenge”.
Nazri had on March 5 insisted that Mahathir, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, take him on in Padang Rengas.
Nazri said he was unable to take up Mahathir’s earlier dare to do battle in Langkawi because Umno’s seat allocation system did not allow him to contest there. Nazri pointed out that there was already an Umno division chief in Langkawi and it would result in a conflict if he too wanted to run there.
The Langkawi MP seat is now held by Nawawi Ahmad, who is Langkawi Umno division head.
Mahathir was appointed PPBM’s Langkawi division chief last month, igniting speculations that he may run there in the election.
Mahathir and Nazri have been engaged in a verbal tiff for some time now. It began after Nazri, upon learning that Mahathir and PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin were due in Padang Rengas later this month, challenged either of them to an electoral fight in his constituency.
In his blog posting, Mahathir also defended the management of national car manufacturer Proton under his rule, saying it had made profits of as much as RM4 billion.
He said Proton never relied on bank loans or government funds to build its RM1.8 billion factory in Tanjung Malim, and had instead paid RM18 billion in taxes to the government.
He added that Proton was affected when imported cars were allowed to easily enter the local market even though the countries exporting them did not permit Proton to be sold there.
“The foreign car manufacturers are giant companies that produce thousands of cars a year,” he said.
“They can sell at a cheap price such that the losses in Malaysia do not become problematic as they reap huge profits in their own countries where they get government protection and are able to export around the world.”
Source : @ FMT Online