Apologetic Dr M pleads for a chance to lead non-partisan government

Members of media watch the live telecast of Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad at Istana Negara February 26, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Members of media watch the live telecast of Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad at Istana Negara February 26, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced on live television today his proposal to lead a non-partisan government if given the opportunity, as a solution to the current political impasse.

The interim prime minister laid down the proposition after apologising for the political turmoil and explained the reasons for his resignation, which brought about the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government.

“If I am given the opportunity, I would establish a government that sides with no party. Only national interest will be prioritised,” he said.

The live address was Dr Mahathir’s first public comments since the PH government he had led to power collapsed.

Touching on his sudden resignation as the seventh prime minister, he declined to provide the exact reason, but said it sufficed to let the public know that he was put in a situation that made it impossible to decide.

In a brief account of events that led to his decision, the 94-year-old Bersatu leader suggested that his party’s departure from PH left him with no choice but to step down.

This would have possibly led to Bersatu to align with Umno and PAS in a coalition that would have made Umno the dominant party, which Dr Mahathir said he would not tolerate.

“I am willing to accept if Umno members quit and join other parties,” he said.

“But if Umno is to join a unity government as Umno the party, this I cannot accept. Hence, I have to resign.”

He then drew attention to allegations that he was plotting to hold on to the position of prime minister due to being power hungry, which he denied.

“So, I resigned as I did not see power and position as being the ‘be all and end all’ of my mission.

“To me, power and position are a ‘means to an end’ or an instrument to achieve an objective, and our objective is certainly the welfare of the country,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has insisted that he was not party to the attempted power grab that sparked the ongoing political turmoil.

This denial was relayed to several of PH’s top leaders who eventually affirmed their support for the Bersatu chairman to remain as prime minister.

However, PH announced after Dr Mahathir’s address that they have nominated PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as their prime minister of choice.

The nomination was conveyed in the meeting with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong earlier today.

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