Dr M: Set aside politics for now

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he hopes to lead a non-partisan administration which prioritises the national interest.

The interim Prime Minister said “rightly or wrongly, politics and political parties must be set aside for the time being”.

“If allowed, I will try to set up a non-partisan administration that does not side any party. Only the national interest will be given priority, this is what I will try to do, ” he said in a televised address to the nation yesterday.

Dr Mahathir, in breaking his silence on the political crisis which led to his abrupt resignation on Monday, added that politicians and political parties had become too obsessed with politics to the extend that they overlooked the economic and health issues plaguing the country.

He said there were allegations that with support from all sides, he could not decide who to pick to form the government or that he had no intention to relinquish his position as prime minister, on top of being “power-crazy”.

“As such, I resigned because I do not see power and this post as my be-all and end-all goal.

“To me, power and position is a means to an end or to reach an objective, which is for the benefit of the nation, ” he added.

Dr Mahathir said he relinquished his post after seeing how some politicians gave importance to which party would rule, notwithstanding whether it had won or lost in the polls.

He said he had promised to give way to the next leader, but would leave it to the Dewan Rakyat to decide on his successor.

“If it is true that I do command the support (of MPs), I will return (as Prime Minister). Otherwise, I will accept anyone who is chosen.

“Hence, there is a chance for the change of leadership. In my opinion, I did not think it was time for me to resign as I believed that I was supported by both sides.

“That is why I asked for more time, ” he said.

However, Dr Mahathir said his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia had decided to quit Pakatan Harapan, together with some Pakatan representatives who broke ranks.

He added that should Bersatu support PAS and Umno, it would mean the parties that lost support in the last general election would be forming the government.

He said the government would then be dominated by Umno.

“I am willing to accept Umno members who have left and joined other parties. But I am not willing to accept Umno in this non-partisan government. So, I had to resign, ” he explained.

At the beginning of his address, Dr Mahathir apologised to the people for the current state of political affairs, which he said had caused them anxiety.

“As a human being, I am no stranger to making mistakes. I apologise if my resignation is wrong.

“The Yang di-Pertuan Agong decreed that I be appointed as temporary Prime Minister. I realise that what is being done now is also against and rejected by many, but there is a possibility of some supporting it.

“I am not seeking to be liked by many. I am only doing something which I feel is good for the country, ” he said.

Dr Mahathir’s resignation as Prime Minister was accepted by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

However, the King consented for Dr Mahathir to continue administering the country as interim Prime Minister as the political impasse was being resolved.

In an immediate response, Umno president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there was no reason for the party to feel slighted with Dr Mahathir’s views.

“It is all right if he does not want us. Life goes on for Umno, ” he said.

Asked what would be Umno’s next move, Ahmad Zahid said he would discuss the latest developments with party members and also with its Muafakat Nasional partner PAS.

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