Dr. Mahathir may have jeopardised Barisan Nasional’s (BN) chances in the crucial Kuala Terengganu by-election when he said that the ruling coalition’s candidate, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, is a bad choice and merely a proxy.
“The choice of the candidate is really very bad because people see him as a proxy to be used if Najib becomes prime minister,” the former prime minister said.
This condemnation of the BN candidate is seen as another swipe at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“The candidate was the prime minister’s choice because he was working with the prime minister,” he added.
Wan Ahmad, the former deputy home minister and member of the senate, who resigned both posts last Friday, will contest against Wakaf Mempelam state assemblyman Mohd Abdul Wahid Endut of PAS.
Even without Dr Mahathir’s remarks, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was expected to use his close links with Abdullah to attack him in the campaign.
This latest bombshell by Dr Mahathir could lead to a repeat of the March 8 general elections where his attacks on the government and calls for a stronger opposition were credited with helping the opposition to their biggest electoral gains ever.
Dr Mahathir’s attacks were widely perceived to be personal in nature, and a calculated strategy to force his successor from power.
The prime minister became a focus of Dr Mahathir’s attacks when he was blamed for the reversal of several of Dr Mahathir’s pet projects including the crooked bridge to Singapore and the decision by Proton to offload Italian motorcycle maker MV Agusta for one euro.
Dr Mahathir, who is Proton’s advisor, had supported Proton’s purchase of MV Agusta and was bitterly opposed to its sale.
In the Permatang Pauh by-election last August, Dr Mahathir had predicted that the BN candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah would lose but with a reduced margin.
Dr Mahathir says Wan Ahmad Farid is poor choice for Kuala Terengganu by-election