KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the High Court today that he had never pushed his son, Mukhriz, to follow in his footsteps and become prime minister.
In his witness statement tendered to the court today for Mukhriz’s defamation suit against former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, the former prime minister said if he had any such intention, he would have done it during his 22 years in office.
“Mukhriz was in his 30s when I was the prime minister. If I wanted to, I could have done whatever within my powers to boost his political career,” said Mahathir, who is the second witness for Mukhriz.
Mukhriz, who is PPBM deputy president, is suing Tunku Aziz over two press statements last year, in which the former DAP leader claimed there was a “secret pact” to push Mukhriz and DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang as prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.
He is seeking damages as well as an apology from Tunku Aziz.
Mahathir added Mukhriz only joined Umno after he stepped down as the prime minister.
The PPBM chairman said he was very strict in discouraging his children from joining politics because he did not want to be accused of misusing his powers as prime minister.
“For Tunku Aziz to say I was involved in a secret pact with Mukhriz and Kit Siang, and to push them as prime minister and deputy prime minister, is false,” Mahathir said, referring to Tunku Aziz’s press statement on Dec 30, 2016.
Mahathir also told the court that he had never filed any lawsuit against individuals who made false allegations against him throughout his 22 years in office.
“I have a duty to prove to the people … by taking proper actions in leading the government of the day,” he said.
Answer allegations through blog
Mahathir added that although he is no longer in office, he did not wish to take legal action against Tunku Aziz over the latter’s alleged defamatory statements on the “secret pact”.
“I prefer to answer allegations thrown at me through my blog, in public speeches and at media conferences.
“To me, the public will hear and accept my explanation,” he said, adding he will hold on to his principle of not suing anyone.
“I am not like Najib (Razak),” he said, taking a swipe at his protege and current prime minister.
Najib has filed various defamation suits against opposition leaders, including Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua and Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli.
He also sued former MCA president Dr Ling Liong Sik for alleging he had “taken the people’s money”.
Mukhriz’s defamation suit will continue on March 1 and Tunku Aziz will be testifying.