Mahathir: Manifesto not bible, only a guide

KUALA LUMPUR: The pre-election manifesto is not a bible that has to be followed and abided by religiously, according to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Commenting on the decision to name a non-parliamentarian as the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat as promised in the Pakatan Harapan (PH) manifesto, the Prime Minister said certain items included in the document might not be practical to be carried out.

"Please remember manifesto is not a bible. It's a guide. Sometimes we can do things, sometimes we find that we cannot. So we need to be practical-minded.

"And I think the public would prefer someone who is not related to any party," he told reporters after the swearing in ceremony of MPs in Parliament, here, today.

Former Court of Appeal judge Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof was sworn in as the speaker, raising several quarters to question the decision.

PH had in its manifesto said the Dewan Rakyat Speaker would be appointed from among its members of parliament.

Commenting on claims by the opposition that the appointment of the speaker was done illegally as the name was not submitted 14 days earlier, Mahathir said those claims were false.

"There was no backdate on the speaker's appointment. The letter to notify the parliament has been prepared much earlier, so when I signed the letter, I merely put the date on it," he said.

Mahathir also described the walkout by the opposition MPs protesting Mohamad Ariff's appointment as mere "drama" (sandiwara), and that they were now behaving the same way they had claimed PH had behaved previously.

"For the first time, the ex-prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak) walks out (of the dewan). So he now knows what it means when somebody walks out," he said.