PUTRAJAYA: Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (pic) could not be acting Prime Minister or interim Prime Minister because the Pakatan Harapan government had already collapsed, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said this in response to claims that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had proposed Dr Wan Azizah to replace him and be appointed as interim prime minister in February 2020.
“The Pakatan government had lost. The Agong could not appoint Wan Azizah, the Deputy Prime Minister as acting Prime Minister.
“Like me, she did not have a majority after Pakatan was overthrown by Bersatu (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia) leaving together with Azmin’s (Datuk Seri Azmin Ali) faction of PKR.
“Neither did the Cabinet, ” he said.
Dr Mahathir also cited Article 43 of the Constitution, which states that the Cabinet could not be sustained as soon as Pakatan had lost its majority following the “Sheraton Move” defections.
“I never submitted the resignation of the Cabinet. But when the Pakatan government fell, there was no way the Cabinet could remain. It had to go down with the government.
“I cannot understand how a lawyer cannot understand this was not a change of Prime Minister, ” said Dr Mahathir.
On his blog “Chedet”, Dr Mahathir said upon accepting his resignation as prime minister, the King had “immediately” asked him to be interim Prime Minister.
“He never proposed any other name, certainly not Wan Azizah, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM). I never offered myself, but it would be rude for me not to accept his proposal.
“At that time the Pakatan government had already fallen, as (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin (Yassin) had announced Bersatu had left Pakatan at noon.
Thomas claimed that Dr Mahathir had put forward his own name for the interim prime minister post at that time.
He added that the potential appointment of Dr Wan Azizah would have been the correct constitutional decision.
“Tommy knew nothing about my resignation. According to Tommy, I told him that the Agong had wanted to appoint Wan Azizah as Interim Prime Minister.
“This is nonsense. After reluctantly accepting my resignation, the Agong suggested I become Interim Prime Minister, ” he said.
However, Dr Mahathir also did express his “general satisfaction” with Thomas’ work as attorney general.
He said this despite claiming that Thomas is “one of those lawyers who hated me”.
Dr Mahathir said he was of the opinion that it would be better if the post of Attorney General went to a non-Malay.
“I was generally satisfied with Tommy’s work. He explained to me that there was no case against the so-called supporters of LTTE.
“I got on quite well with him. He would see me for all major issues. I trusted him and defended him when Malays condemned him, ” Dr Mahathir said, adding that he had also recommended that Thomas be given a Tan Sri title.