KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has clarified his description of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as a “traitor”.
He told Sinar Harian in an interview that he did not mean to say Muhyiddin betrayed him personally.
“The word (traitor) does not refer to him. (It refers to) his actions in betraying the party’s struggle. Rightly, in Bersatu’s struggle... my views should be prioritised for discussions, but I was flatly rejected.
“So I was disappointed with the action of those who previously pledged support to me, told me they were fully behind me and not at all interested in becoming the prime minister,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said that despite his previous insistence of loyalty, Muhyiddin went against him by association with “kleptocrats” simply to gain their support.
“Kleptocrats” is a pejorative he uses on members of the former Barisan Nasional government, particularly those in Umno.
The former prime minister said he was dismayed to see Muhyiddin prepared to accept Datuk Seri Najib Razak when he could not.
“So I felt let down. Maybe the word ‘traitor’ won’t seem accurate to some. But for me, those actions count as betraying the cause,” he explained.
Muhyididn has tried to reach out to Dr Mahathir for reconciliation, saying he was ready to meet his predecessor at any time and place.
However, Dr Mahathir continues to insist he will not meet Muhyiddin so long as he is associated with Umno.
Dr Mahathir resigned unexpectedly in February to trigger a political crisis that brought down the Pakatan Harapan administration and culminated in Muhyiddin’s appointment as the new PM heading the new Perikatan Nasional government