Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he teamed up with former nemesis Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim because the PKR-DAP-Amanah alliance would not have been able to defeat Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Barisan Nasional coalition on their own.
- Reiterated he will pass over baton to Anwar in two years
- Bound to carry on the decision made by the coalition, not free to do anything he pleases
- Priority to clear off RM1 trillion debt in order for Malaysia to develop further
In an interview with Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera, Dr Mahathir said what Najib had done was terrible for the country and the attempt to remove him from power transcends past disagreements with Anwar.
“Anwar and myself, and many others who in the past accused me of all kinds of wrongdoings, we decided that the past is the past.
“Now, we have to come together, because the overthrowing of Najib is far more important than our previous quarrels,” he told Al Jazeera.
As previously mentioned during the election campaign, Dr Mahathir reiterated that he will pass over the baton to Anwar once his leadership of the government is up in two years.
“We need to form a coalition in order to defeat Najib. The coalition must include Anwar’s party. The condition for Anwar to join the coalition is that he will be the next prime minister after me.”
Touching on the issues revolving Najib that affects national interest, such as accusations of the latter stealing billions of ringgit from the government, Dr Mahathir said the Pekan MP’s involvement in multiple scandals cannot be overlooked and must go to a court of law.
He said though he is in the same system as Najib was, who had abused his power by interfering in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad investigations, the Langkawi MP said he would not follow into Najib’s steps.
“I could do the same thing, but I didn’t do it. You see, I was 22 years as prime minister. There was no accusation of stealing money against me. All the other accusations were just political accusations with no proof.
“In the case of Najib today, we have enough evidence, and the rule of law must be applied,” he said.
Answering to criticism against him on curbing freedom through the Internal Security Act during his past premiership, Dr Mahathir said that he now will go back to the rule of law, and said even then he had not used his power to execute random arrests.
He said he is currently not free to do anything he pleases and is bound to carry on the decision made by the coalition, which is to go back to democracy, as well as the manifesto set up by Pakatan Harapan.
On hopes and plans for Malaysia’s economy, the 93-year-old said it is the new government’s priority to clear off the huge debt amounting to more than RM1 trillion in order for Malaysia to develop further.
Dr Mahathir said he was satisfied he had given his best to the country by applying the skills and knowledge he has as a leader to the development of Malaysia.
“Now, I am again in a position to take corrective action, and if I don’t, I think it’ll be very selfish indeed.
If I am still able, I will contribute whatever I can towards resuscitating this country, which has the potential to become a developed country, provided the policies of the governments are correct,” he said. – Malay Mail