On over three occasions the number 3 came out of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's mouth.
The latest is his reply to local media hounding him a timeline for his resignation and handing power to Anwar Ibrahim.
He told reporters, "I will keep my promises but I do not know if it will be within two or three years timeframe."
During an interview with CNBC Mahathir says:
<<No, I will not go beyond three years.>>
This was in reply to a question on a timeline for his retirement which Pakatan Harapan was discussing.
TWO OR THREE YEARS MATTER!
Two years, or three years, it matters a lot for many. Hopes are high for a change in the country.
We all know the current crop of ministers are not flawless and reform is still backward.
We all heard of two years given to Dr Mahathir. But the PM did not seem to agree with the two years deadline.
There is also a need to clean Pakatan Harapan of latency.
Yet, some of his people (close associates) say there is a two-year deal for Dr M to quit and for Anwar to take over.
Anwar said it frequently. Many PKR leaders also agree on the two-year mandate to Tun Mahathir.
Some PKR leaders do not agree on the two-year term for their favourite PM. Does it mean Anwar will not be their favourite PM or are they afraid or unhappy if Anwar is PM?
Those questions will get their answers.
But after the CNBC interview, Dr Mahathir mentioned the number 'three' at least one more time.
He denies he said three years when the media sought answers. But the recordings are there to show he said he will not go 'beyond three years'.
Translated in real English it means he will stay for three years to the least which does not mean he will leave in exactly two years.
Dr Mahathir, speaking on 'Asian Tigers' says he needs three years to fix the economic mess.
He also says this will not make Malaysia into a 'tiger' but he as PM needs more time to put the economy on the rails so it can achieve and regain the status of 'tiger' in 10-15 years' time.
The three years, again in plain and simple English, may mean he wants to stay for three years!
On his birthday this week, Dr Mahathir did not mention the number three. But he made it clearer and in a bolder way:
<<I just want to finish my work.>>