Malaysia’s Interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has given his first address to the nation in the wake of his resignation as prime minister and the collapse of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition.
Speaking on Feb. 26 in a televised address, he said: “I beg for forgiveness if my resignation is wrong.”
He also apologised to Malaysians for the current disorganised state of the country’s politics and its potential in causing worry.
Cannot accept UMNO joining the new government
As to why he had resigned, Mahathir said while he could accept former members of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) who had joined other parties, he could not accept UMNO itself joining a new ruling coalition.
He also took aim at accusations of being “power-crazy” and that he had no intention to let go of his post.
In response to this, Mahathir stated that he had resigned as he did not see power and position as the “be all and end all” or his goal.
Instead, he saw both elements as a “means to an end” in reaching the objective of achieving the best for the country.
New government will prioritise national interests, not parties
He added that the new government he intends to form will prioritise national interests above political parties.
In justifying his case, Mahathir stated:
“Politics, politicians and political parties are too engrossed that they forget that their country is facing an economical and health crises that is threatening the country.”
He further acknowledged whatever he will do now is also likely to be rejected and protested by a lot of people.
On this, he added: “I am not looking to be well-liked. I am just doing something that I think is good for the country. Whether I am right or wrong, I am of opinion that politicians and political parties should set that aside.”
Have made a promise to resign and let the Dewan Rakyat choose successor
Mahathir then stated that he had made a promise to resign from his post to allow the Dewan Rakyat (Malaysian Parliament) to decide who will succeed him.
He further said: “If it’s true that I am still supported, I will return. If not, I will accept whoever will be chosen.”
He then added that he was of the opinion if he received support from “both parties”, his time to leave his post had not yet arrived.
This is his speech:
Good afternoon respected ladies and gentlemen.
Please allow me to apologise to all Malaysian citizens for the current politics that is rather disorganised and may have caused worry.
As the public knows, I have given my letter of resignation as the 7th PM to the Malaysian King.
However, I was asked to meet HRH and after about an hour-long discussion, HRH has agreed to accept my resignation and asked me to become the interim PM.
Ladies and gentlemen, there are many reasons why I decided to resign but it should suffice to say that I feel getting so-called “support” from all parties until I cannot decide which party I can choose.
Apart from that, there have been accusations that I have no intention to let go of my post and am “power-crazy”.
Therefore, I resigned as I don’t see power and the post as “be all and end all”, as my goal.
To me, my power and post is “a means to an end”, or as a medium to reach our objective. And our objective is to achieve the best for this country. That’s why I resigned because to me, for politicians, what is most important is what is the ruling party, the one who wins or lose.
Actually, I have made a promise to resign from my post to give chance to the Dewan Rakyat to decide who will take over my place. If it’s true that i am still supported, I will return. If not, I will accept whoever will be chosen.
The chance to change leadership is there. I am just of opinion that if I receive support from both parties, my time to leave my post has not arrived.
However, my party, Bersatu, has decided to get out of PH. There are also members from other parties who will leave. Because of this, the PH government will dissolve.
The effect, if Bersatu supports PAS and UMNO, then the lost parties will form the government. this government will be dominated by UMNO as the largest party.
I’m willing to accept former UMNO members to join other parties. However, UMNO will join this coalition as UMNO. I cannot accept this. Thus, I had to resign.
As a human being, I am not far from committing mistakes. I beg for forgiveness if my resignation is wrong.
The King has appointed me to be the interim PM. I realise that whatever I do now will be rejected and protested by a lot of people. But maybe there are those who will continue to support me.
I am not looking to be well-liked. I am just doing something that I think is good for the country.
Politics, politicians and political parties are too engrossed that they forget that their country is facing an economical and health crises that is threatening the country.
Whether I am right or wrong, I am of opinion that politicians and political parties should set that aside.
If I am allowed, I will ask for an administration that does not side any one political party. The importance of the country will take precedence. If I am allowed, this is what I will try.
I will pray to Allah SWT that I will be given guidance for these efforts.
Top image screenshot from Berita RTM Facebook