PUTRAJAYA, July 18 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today proclaimed himself the “top dog” in Pakatan Harapan.
The retired prime minister-turned-government critic was last week announced as the chairman of the four-party Pakatan Harapan, though jailed PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was named the federal Opposition pact’s de facto leader and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail its president.
“In the hierarchy, I am the top dog there,” Dr Mahathir told a press conference here.
“We can’t have a country ruled by three prime ministers,” he said, when asked if all three of the leaders are on equal footing in the coalition.
Dr Mahathir was responding to questions about his proposed debate with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and comparisons to presidential debates or similar debates of opposing political leaders in Western democracies.
“It is similar to that. Since I was made the chairman of Pakatan Harapan, I am the equivalent of Najib [for the Opposition],” he said.
Last week, Barisan Nasional leaders criticised Pakatan’s announcement of its leadership line-up, claiming that having a chairman, president and de facto leader did not make it clear who is the main decision maker.
But Dr Mahathir compared the hierarchy to his own party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia in which he remained the top leader while being chairman, even though Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasmin serves as president.