Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he would step down as prime minister before the next general election.
“I promise I would step down before the next election and give way to another candidate. So I may have at the most three years perhaps,” the prime minister told a dialogue organised by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.
The next general election is due in 2023.
Mahathir, who returned to the top post in May last year, had previously stated that he would step down after about two years in power.
Under an agreement struck by Pakatan Harapan leaders, the 94-year-old is to hand over power to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim on an unspecified date.
Mahathir has also repeatedly said he will keep his promise once the country is “on an even keel”.
Earlier this month, Anwar told Bloomberg Television that he expects to take over from Mahathir by next year.
Mahathir meanwhile said he could not be sure if his successor would do well, citing his disappointment with his replacement when he stepped down in 2003.
“I cannot guarantee that somebody who succeeds me will do well, or maybe not too well.
“I cannot guarantee. But we can put in place the right machinery. If you work within the system, I think we can achieve the goal of developed status by 2030,” he said.