FILE PHOTO: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaks during the signing ceremony for Bandar Malaysia in Putrajaya, Malaysia, December 17, 2019. REUTERS/Lim Huey Teng
LANGKAWI, Malaysia (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Monday his ruling coalition could be a one-term government if it does not make some changes.
Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan coalition, or Alliance of Hope, defeated the long ruling Barisan National coalition in May 2018 on promises of reforms and widespread disgust over corruption.
Mahathir joined hands with former foes, including Anwar Ibrahim, to form the unlikely coalition that defeated former premier Najib Razak.
But the coalition has lost five by-elections since then, including one over the weekend, and polls have shown waning popularity among the public.
“We have lost five by-elections but they still don’t understand,” Mahathir told reporters in Langkawi, a resort island off the western coast of Malaysia.
“I told them in a democracy you need strong support from the people. But instead they fight amongst themselves and divide the people… They are not going to win unless they change their ways,” he said.
Reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi and Liz Lee; Editing by Michael Perry