Abdul Karim

KUCHING: The naming of Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal as Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) prime minister-candidate is just a diversionary effort by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB) vice-president Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.

He said Mahathir really wanted the post for himself after he unwisely chose to relinquish it last February.

“When he was the prime minister, he stepped down. And now that he wants to take the post back but couldn’t, he puts in someone else’s name for the position.

“Sometimes I feel like as if he has already gone senile as only senile people would do such a thing,” he said, adding that Mahathir has to respect the constitutional institution whereby in the case of a political impasse, it would be referred to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah.

Abdul Karim said this during a press conference here on Monday.

He added that Mahathir should admit his own mistake now that he knows getting his position back is practically hopeless.

He also mentioned that Mahathir, at 95 years old, should consider retiring.

“We respect him and he has done his part to contribute to Malaysia. Malaysia is respected by the world because of him.

“It’s time for him to be a statesman where, when we have a problem, we come to him and ask for advice. But in the meantime, leave Malaysia to the younger and more vibrant political leaders to lead,” he said.

In addition, Abdul Karim said he was puzzled to see the issue of a new prime minister being brought up when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had only just come up to helm the position.

“Personally, I feel that despite the Covid-19 crisis, he is doing a very good job. When somebody is doing a good job, why are we talking about having another prime minister?”

On whether or not he agreed that Shafie should be prime minister, Abdul Karim said he was pleased to see Sarawakians and Sabahans being given some kind of acknowledgement.

“… but we will cross the bridge when we get there. If there is an impasse again after the polls, in which they cannot find a good candidate from West Malaysia, it will be good to consider someone from Sarawak or Sabah.

“After the election or in the event of a vote of no confidence, if true, we will have to find a new prime minister even if it is before the general election.

“In that time, if someone proposed a candidate from Sarawak or Sabah, and everyone accepts it, I will be very happy,” Abdul Karim said.

He also said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition would not rock the boat.

“Because when there are uncertainties in leadership, investors would not be confident to invest in the country.

“It’s not easy to build up the economy in this kind of situation when facing the Covid-19 crisis and movement control order (MCO), but Muhyiddin has been able to,” he said.