Kit Siang: Dr Mahathir only guessing at why unity government bid failed

DAP's Lim Kit Siang expressed surprise over Dr Mahathir’s remark, labelling it as his 'own conjecture' and called the latter’s resignation that led to PH’s collapse after just 22 months as the federal government an 'egregious blunder'. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
DAP's Lim Kit Siang expressed surprise over Dr Mahathir’s remark, labelling it as his 'own conjecture' and called the latter’s resignation that led to PH’s collapse after just 22 months as the federal government an 'egregious blunder'. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 4 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has responded to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad claim that he was unsuccessful in forming a unity government last year after the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration due to the claim that he was a “dictator”.

Musing on how Malaysia would have turned out if he had managed to get a unity government together, the former two-time prime minister yesterday said he ultimately failed to get sufficient numbers of MPs to back him for such a cause.

In a statement today, Lim expressed surprise over Dr Mahathir’s remark, labelling it as his “own conjecture” and called the latter’s resignation that led to PH’s collapse after just 22 months as the federal government an “egregious blunder”.

“This is Dr Mahathir’s own conjecture. To put the record straight, PH’s decision to support Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister after Dr Mahathir’s shocking resignation, was made unanimously by all three component parties of PH  —  DAP, PKR and Amanah. PH made the decision after Dr Mahathir refused to continue as PH prime minister, as well as abide and be bound by the PH General Election Manifesto.

“There must be a PH prime minister and government to uphold and respect the people’s mandate granted in the 2018 general election. It is indeed unfortunate that Dr Mahathir still refuses to assume responsibility for his egregious blunder in resigning as prime minister when he had retained the support of the majority of the MPs, from Pakatan Harapan, Warisan and even Bersatu MPs,” Lim said.

Having stepped down on February 24, 2020 as prime minister following a series of events sparked by the infamous “Sheraton Move”, Dr Mahathir was appointed on the same day by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to be interim prime minister while waiting for a new prime minister to be appointed and a new Cabinet to be formed.

The Langkawi MP noted in his blog post yesterday that the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein had, as the head of Malaysia’s National Operations Council ― formed after the May 13, 1969 racial riots ― sought to bring all the opposition parties into the government.

“He succeeded with Gerakan, PAS and SUPP. But DAP refused. Still he felt justified in naming the new coalition, the National Front or Barisan Nasional,” Dr Mahathir said.

Recalling Razak’s efforts, Dr Mahathir said he thought that something similar was needed for Malaysia.

“But I failed because Kit Siang said I was trying to become a dictator. He supported Anwar as the PH candidate. Had the 92 votes gone to me I would have 154 votes. You can imagine what direction the nation would take when all parties put the nation first,” he said.

DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara form the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia was formerly a member before its pullout resulted in the collapse of the PH federal government and led to Dr Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister on February 24, 2020.

Days after Dr Mahathir’s February 26 public suggestion of a unity government and after several names were floated as candidates to be prime minister by different political groups, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was on March 1 sworn in as the country’s eighth prime minister.

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