Dr Mahathir would eventually hand over the leadership to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.-Bernama

SEPANG: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was premature to assume that Pakatan Harapan’s defeat in the Tanjung Piai by-election is due to the ambiguity surrounding the timeline for him to hand over the reins to a successor.

This, he said, will be done when the time comes.

“We don’t know if the country is ready for a transition of power. We’ll decide on it when the time comes," he told reporters after delivering his closing address at the 2019 Southeast Asia Ulama (scholars) Multaqa (conference) today.

PH, after winning the 2018 general election, said Dr Mahathir would eventually hand over the leadership to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. However, no official timeline has been set for this purpose.

Meanwhile, on several PH leaders blaming him for the Tanjung Piai by-election defeat, Dr Mahathir replied: “It’s possible that it’s my fault. How am I to know?”

One of those who blamed Dr Mahathir on the defeat was former PKR deputy president Syed Husin Ali, who likened the defeat to a referendum on the prime minister’s leadership and said Dr Mahathir should take responsibility for the defeat.

PH lost the by-election to Barisan Nasional with a mammoth 15,086-vote majority.

Dr Mahathir had said that a post-mortem examination on the by-election defeat would be carried out to identify the actual root cause of the defeat.