Kit Siang laments Dr M’s refusal to admit resignation was a mistake

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Stop blaming me. We only decided to back Anwar Ibrahim after Tun M refused to continue as PH prime minister, said Lim Kit Siang after Tun M had earlier blamed the DAP supremo for his failure to form a unity government.

DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has hit out at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, calling his decision to resign as prime minister an “egregious blunder” because he still had the majority at that time.

Lim was responding to Mahathir’s remarks yesterday, in which the elder statesman appeared to blame Lim for his failure to form a unity government.

“I failed because Kit Siang said I was trying to become a dictator. He supported Anwar (Ibrahim) as the PH (Pakatan Harapan) candidate. Had the 92 votes gone to me, I would have had 154 votes.

“You can imagine what direction the nation would take when all parties put the nation first,” Mahathir said yesterday.

Lim said he was surprised with Mahathir’s remarks, which he said was the Langkawi MP’s own conjecture.

“This is Dr Mahathir’s own conjecture. To put the record straight, PH’s decision to support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister after Dr Mahathir’s shocking resignation, was made unanimously by all three component parties of PH — DAP, PKR and Amanah. PH made the decision after Dr Mahathir refused to continue as PH prime minister, as well as abide and be bound by the PH General Election Manifesto.

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“There must be a PH prime minister and government to uphold and respect the people’s mandate granted in the 2018 general election. It is indeed unfortunate that Dr Mahathir still refuses to assume responsibility for his egregious blunder in resigning as prime minister when he had retained the support of the majority of the MPs, from Pakatan Harapan, Warisan and even Bersatu MPs,” Lim said.

Having stepped down on February 24, 2020, as prime minister following a series of events sparked by the infamous “Sheraton Move”, Dr Mahathir was appointed on the same day by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be interim prime minister while waiting for a new prime minister to be appointed and a new Cabinet to be formed.

Mahathir’s resignation triggered a flurry of negotiations, culminating in a victory for PN which only had three MPs more than the other side.

During the negotiations, Mahathir had once again sought to prove his majority despite resigning.

However, Mahathir had wanted a free hand to appoint his ministers should he return as prime minister, including from outside of Harapan.

Harapan could not agree to this and eventually decided to back Anwar Ibrahim instead, but he fell short.

Days after Dr Mahathir’s February 26 public suggestion of a unity government and after several names were floated as candidates to be prime minister by different political groups, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was on March 1 sworn in as the country’s eighth prime minister.