Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad – Bernama file photo
KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said various reasons compelled him to resign as the prime minister on Monday.
One was that he was loathe to having Umno in the coalition government that would have been set up, said the interim prime minister.
“I am prepared to accept Umno members who have left the party to join another. But Umno would have joined this coalition government as a party. I cannot accept that. So, I had to resign,” said Dr Mahathir in a special address to the nation broadcast live on television and various social media platforms at 4.45 pm.
He said he asked to be given time, but “my party Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) decided to leave Pakatan Harapan (PH).
“Some members of other component parties would have left also, causing the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government,” he said.
“The consequence of Bersatu supporting PAS and UMNO would mean that defeated parties will have formed the government. That government will have been dominated by UMNO as the biggest party.”
Dr Mahathir’s resignation as the prime minister on Monday led to all kinds of speculation, and this is the first time he has broken his silence to explain why he stepped down.
The nonagenarian said he had promised to step down as the PM to let the Dewan Rakyat determine his successor.
“I will have returned if it was true that I was still in favour. If not, I will have accepted whoever was chosen (to be the PM),” said Dr Mahathir, who was appointed as the interim prime minister by the King about six hours after he handed in his resignation at about 1 pm on Monday.
The opportunity existed to change the leadership, he said in giving his perspective of what had transpired over the past few days.
“I felt that as I had the support of both sides, the time for me to step down had not come,” he said in explaining why he had asked for more time.
Dr Mahathir said he also felt that he apparently had the support of all quarters, leaving him with little choice as to whom to pick.
At the same time, there were also allegations that he had no intention to step down as the prime minister because he was power-crazy, he said.
“I resigned because I do not see power and position as the be-all and end-all as my objective. For me, power and position are a means to an end or a tool to achieve the objective. And, the objective of us all is the well-being of the nation.
“That is why I chose to resign as I could see that for politicians, the most important thing is which party rules, regardless of whether it is a defeated party or not,” he said in his six-minute address from his office in Putrajaya. – Bernama