KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he had amended the Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act in 2003 with the intent of having the government provide a form of remuneration to former prime ministers in recognition of their service.

The amendments, Dr Mahathir said, were never meant to give luxury or wealth to former prime ministers, as usually the reward came in the form of existing government housing since the pension, gratuity and allowance provided was more than enough for one to build a home.

Throughout his first tenure as prime minister, Dr Mahathir said he had never claimed or obtained anything else with the exception of a pension and RM10,000 per month for the purpose of maintaining his existing residence. 

“A plot of land in Putrajaya was offered to me for free when I retired but I rejected it and instead I purchased land in Putrajaya with the price offered to a civil servant when they retire.

“A quit rent of RM6,071 and RM17,92 in assessment tax are paid annually by me as well,” he said in a blog post today.

Dr Mahathir then claimed the RM100 million — a 2.7-acre plot of land worth some RM60 million and a house worth some RM40 million — to be given to Najib in recognition of the latter’s contribution made Malaysia a global laughing stock as a convicted person still remained so highly praised and respected.

This follows after Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he applied for a plot of land and a house believed to be worth RM100 million in the city as such benefits are accorded to a former prime minister.

He had explained that his office made the application to the government under a law that was amended during Dr Mahathir’s first term as prime minister.

Following backlash, Najib claimed he will withdraw his application but defended his choice in the selection of the site, saying that it was similar to buying a plot of suitable land.

In the blog post, Dr Mahathir also noted that it was “normal” for Najib to shift the blame to him for the amendments in the Act but not before pointing out that the latter made an application while all his predecessors did not.

Dr Mahathir then cited several instances where past prime ministers, such as Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak, were given simple residences, which also included Najib’s mother Tun Rahah who was given an existing government residence. 

“We can appreciate the contributions of a prime minister, but not to the extent of making them a millionaire.

“Their contributions too needed to be taken into account. For someone who destroyed the country and was convicted, do we need to give away a gift up to RM100 million while those who fought for the country’s independence were given a house with a tiled wooden roof?

“But whether the government intends to respond or not is their right,” he said.