Mahathir eyes minority votes

Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad says the opposition will be targeting Indian and Chinese votes in this year’s general election.

The 92-year-old chairman of the opposition Pakatan Harapan (PH) alliance said electoral boundaries were being redrawn to nullify minority votes.

“Even PAS [Parti Islam SeMalaysia] has said that there should not be non-Muslims in the government,” he said. PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang reportedly recently proposed an all-Malay cabinet.
Mahathir, who is expected to contest a parliamentary seat, ruled out coalition talks with PAS before election, calling the party “untrustworthy” and contradicting of Islamic principles.

“With PAS, they will agree one thing and behind they will support someone else,” said Mahathir, who led Malaysia for 22 years. “For example, they agreed Anwar Ibrahim should be the prime minister candidate but behind Anwar they talked to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah and supported him for the post instead.”
Mahathir said he would run in Langkawi, Kubang Pasu or Putrajaya for the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), which he also leads.
Prime Minister Najib Razak appears keen to attract Muslim votes by promoting relatively non-contentious international issues, like the rights of Muslims in Myanmar and Palestine.
He said Muslims in Malaysia and worldwide should unite to end the suffering and oppression of their brothers.

“May Allah unite our hearts and continuously shower us blessings of peace and stability on Malaysian soil, so that we can continue to use our influence as a model Islamic country to defend Muslims who are oppressed, wherever in the world, Insya-Allah,” he wrote on

Malaysia last year continued to be blessed by Allah, remaining prosperous, peaceful and harmonious, as well as continuing to be a model Islamic country that was influential and vocal in defending Muslims overseas, the scandal-hit prime minister added.
“We expect healthy growth next year and further reduction of the deficit, as we continue to take all steps necessary to build the nation and promote the safety, welfare and happiness of people,” said Najib.

Najib argued that online retail giant Alibaba’s decision to launch the first digital free-trade zone in Malaysia was proof of the efficient and business-friendly environment created by his government.
Condemning efforts by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he said: “I have stressed this matter repeatedly, at the Umno general assembly, the extraordinary summit of the OIC [Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation] in Istanbul and also at the Solidarity Rally: Save Jerusalem,” he added, referring to his ruling party.

Mahathir Mohamad in 1984. Picture credit: Wikimedia