Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has apologized to the rakyat for the political crisis that has befallen the country, and clarified the reasons behind his quitting.
The Langkawi MP, in a televised address to the nation this evening, confirmed reports that the attempt to include Umno in the new coalition government, was a reason for his decision.
"I was willing to accept Umno members who quit the party and joined other parties, but not Umno, which would join the new coalition, as a whole party. I could not accept this. This is why I quit.
"As a human being, I'm bound to make mistakes. I apologize if I was wrong in resigning," Mahathir said.
Mahathir also dismissed claims that he was delaying passing the premiership baton to his successor, because he was "power crazy".
"Thus, I quit because I don't see power and position as a 'be all and end all'. To me, position and power is the 'means to an end', or a tool to achieve an objective, which is for the good of the country.
"I have previously promised to let go of my position, and let the Dewan Rakyat choose my successor. If I still have the support, I will return, or if not, I will give way for whoever is chosen," he said.
The exit of Bersatu, of which he was previously the chairman, from the Pakatan Harapan coalition, also contributed to the chaos, he added.
"I asked for time. But my party Bersatu decided to quit Pakatan Harapan, and there were also members from other component parties who followed suit. This collapsed Pakatan Harapan.
"If Bersatu supported PAS and Umno, then the losing (opposition) parties will form the government, and this administration will be controlled by Umno, as it has the biggest number."
Commenting further, Mahathir said his priority is doing good for the country.
"I realise that what I'm doing now will be opposed by many, and supported by some. I'm not looking to be liked by many, I just want to do good to the country.
"There is too much politicking that the economic and health issues are being overlooked.
"I believe this politicking should be set aside for now, and if given the chance, I would run an administration that favours national interests, instead of political parties," he said.
Mahathir resigned both as prime minister, and Bersatu chairperson, on Monday. This automatically resulted in the removal of all cabinet ministers.
Mahathir's resignation happened after former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, and his faction, as well as representatives from Bersatu, BN, PAS, GPS and Warisan, met with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on the formation of a new government, over the weekend.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim had said that those staging the coup had used Mahathir's name without his consent.
Azmin, and senior PKR leader Zuraida Kamarudin, were later fired from PKR over the move. Their exit caused an exodus of at least nine other MPs from the party.
Yang diPertuan Agong, Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, consented to Mahathir's resignation, but appointed the latter to become the interim prime minister, until a new premier, and cabinet, are in place.
The King also, since yesterday, individually interviewed all 221 MPs (excluding Mahathir), to gauge who has the majority.
Meanwhile, in a press conference later, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim announced that all Pakatan Harapan lawmakers had chosen him as the coalition's candidate for prime minister, in their interviews with the King.
"We invited Dr Mahathir to attend the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting yesterday, but he did not attend it.
"Therefore, the council decided to nominate me as the candidate. Pakatan Harapan remains committed to the rakyat's aspiration, and will not betray the people's will," he said.
Wed Feb 26 2020
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