KUALA LUMPUR, July 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reiterated today that he will not tolerate nepotism, disclosing that it had even estranged him from some of his relatives.
In an interview with Hong Kong-based business news portal Investvine, the former prime minister said he had once “got rid” of a cousin who was a chief minister after the latter was accused of corruption.
“There was a cousin who became chief minister of one of the states. When people accused him of corruption, I immediately got rid of him.
“I have been so strict to the point where one of my nephews is not even on talking terms with me, and wrote a book about me which is not very flattering,” the Langkawi MP said.
Dr Mahathir stressed that he is very particular about being seen as favouring his own family that he barred his own children from participating actively in politics when he was prime minister.
He added that his children had to do business overseas and not in Malaysia to avoid the nepotism taint.
He also said that one of his sons, Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahahir was not directly involved in politics even though he was made an Umno Youth treasurer at one time.
“Mokhzani, he was not directly involved. Because the Youth section of the governing party wanted someone to handle the finances and him being in the private sector, he seemed to understand this much better, so he was appointed to be the treasurer of Umno Youth. But none of my relatives have been allowed to participate in politics,” Dr Mahathir said.
The two-time prime minister said he felt it was unfair to block his children’s political ambitions after leaving government.
“But when I stepped down, I thought that it is not fair to them, that to preserve my image, they should be deprived of their wishes to go into politics.
“So Mukhriz went into politics only after I stepped down as the prime minister,” he said of another son, Jerlun MP Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir.
Mukhriz was Kedah mentri besar twice, and was forced to vacate his post the second time after he lost the majority support from the state assemblymen following internal frictions in Bersatu, the party his father co-founded.
Dr Mahathir resigned unexpectedly in February, triggering a political crisis that resulted in the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government. He was succeeded by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who heads the new Perikatan Nasional government.