Kuala Lumpur, 19 Aug — Parti Pejuang Tanah Air chairman Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad dismissed the rhetorics by supporters of Anwar Ibrahim that he was the hurdle in Pakatan Harapan’s bid to return to power, stating clearly that the PKR leader owes his rise on the political ladder to him.
The former PM said it was Anwar who had rejected him in the aftermath of the collapse of the PH government last year.
“I never rejected him. Actually, Anwar is who he is because of me. Without me, Anwar is nobody. I promoted him up to become the deputy prime minister,” Mahathir said in an interview with Bernama last night, in reference to his first tenure as PM.
“There is no problem for me to work with him. But the problem is, he doesn’t want to work with me. And then, he said, ‘Dr. Mahathir doesn’t like me, he doesn’t want to work with me, that’s why we split up.’ So the blame was on me,” said Dr. Mahathir.
Mahathir had appointed Anwar to his Cabinet, and in less than two decades, Anwar quickly rose through Umno ranks to become its deputy president and DPM before being sacked in 1998 on charges of sodomy and abuse of power.
Mahathir’s comments came after a palace deadline for MPs to submit the name of their choice of prime minister to form the next government.
He said PH’s attempt to return to power had failed even when Perikatan Nasional was shaky due to its thin margin. But he said efforts to forge cooperation with PH under Anwar did not happen because of Anwar’s insistence that Mahathir should not play any role.
“Then what is my role? I cannot be the prime minister, I cannot be in the party. He rejected me. But he cleverly told the people that it was I who rejected him.”
Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said he has no interest in becoming prime minister for the third time and was only keen on leading the National Operations Council (Mageran) which he proposed.
“I am not interested in the Cabinet. I just want to have power to address the Covid-19 problem,” he said when asked if he would join the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Plus coalition if it formed the government.
“No. Not to become prime minister, just want to be the head of Mageran, or the National Rehabilitation Council.
He said he was concerned as many were dying from Covid-19 while suicides were also on the rise.