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PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has refuted an assertion that his resignation as prime minister was a “monumental betrayal” of the people, saying he had no choice but to do so as he had lost the support of his government.
The accusation of betrayal was made by former attorney-general Tommy Thomas, a Mahathir appointee, in his memoir ‘My Story: Justice in the Wilderness.’
“Seldom in our nation’s history have so many million voters been let down by the actions of one man,” Thomas wrote.
In response, Mahathir said he “had no choice” but to step down after the Muhyiddin Yassin-led PPBM and Azmin Ali’s faction within PKR withdrew from the Pakatan Harapan coalition.
“So, whether I stepped down or not, I would not have been the prime minister for PH because PH had collapsed,” Mahathir said in a special interview with FMT.
Yesterday, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang had also claimed Mahathir had made an “egregious blunder” by quitting although he still had the support of the majority of MPs. He said PH had only picked Anwar Ibrahim for the job when Mahathir refused to continue as the prime minister for PH.
Mahathir added that PPBM’s rejection of his advice to stay with PH represented a vote of no confidence, which meant he had to step down as chairman of the party.
“I could not insist on being the prime minister all by myself. I needed to have a party behind me. But I had no party. See, it’s not something I wanted to do, but I had no choice.”
On Feb 24 last year, the two-time prime minister stepped down a day after members of PPBM and Azmin Ali’s faction held an audience with the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, along with other opposition parties.
After PPBM and 11 PKR lawmakers left the PH government, the coalition fell and Mahathir was installed as interim PM.
Less than a week later, Muhyiddin was selected by the Yang diPertuan Agong to lead the government after joining forces with opposition parties.