PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): "I don't think I'm worse than Trump," quipped Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) when asked to rate his captaincy of Pakatan Harapan, which celebrates its first anniversary as the ruling coalition.
"There are many leaders in the world, but I don't think I am worse than (US president Donald) Trump. I don't think I am worse than British leaders, French leaders, Spanish leaders, and all those other leaders.
"By comparison, I didn't do so badly. Can you tell me which leader has done better than me?" he retorted when reporters asked him to appraise his leadership on Wednesday (May 8).
In a special interview to mark the first year of the Pakatan government, Dr Mahathir said that normally would not rate himself and preferred others to do so instead.
"What I do know, people are not shooting at me, taking potshots at me, except for the press. But that is your duty. And I appreciate that. I like to be told where I am wrong and weak, so I can correct myself," he said.
The nonagenarian said he receives reactions from both ends of the spectrum.
"There are people who are against me, who wish that I am dead. But there are also people who are friendly, they shake my hand, and say 'I love you'," he said.
As a leader, Dr Mahathir said, he felt as strong as he could be at the age of 93. In his classic inimitable witty style, he said, "not many people at the age of 93 can even think, but I think I'm still able to answer your nasty questions".
Asked if his age was an advantage to his leadership, he said there is no benefit except for experience.
"Twenty-two years as a prime minister is something that has taught me a lot," said Dr Mahathir who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003.
Dr Mahathir, who is also the brainchild of Vision 2020 to make the country a developed nation, said the national idea is now pushed back to "Vision 2025".
"(This is) because my predecessor made sure we did not achieve our objective," he said.
On the premiership's succession plan, Dr Mahathir reiterated that he has already promised to step down after two years to give way to PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
"That is something quite definite. There is no talk about who it's going to be or what is going to be done," he said.
Dr Mahathir said anyone who takes over from him is not required to follow his instruction, nor to follow what was done by him.
"He is free to do what he thinks is best as the prime minister. I have no say on what happens after. My job is to prepare the country as much as possible," he said. – Bernama