PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today it hurt “when friends backstab you”.
“I have been prime minister twice. It’s not hard. It’s not that I want it so badly,” he added during a thanksgiving ceremony held by Kedah Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir in Jitra.
Mahathir said Muhyiddin Yassin chose to work with Umno and Najib Razak instead of himself in order to become prime minister and form a new government with Umno and PAS.
He said Muhyiddin knew the main reason he (Mahathir) did not want to cooperate with Umno was that several of its leaders have been charged in court for corruption.
Among these Umno leaders were Najib, the former PM and party leader; Umno’s current president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi; former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor; and former Tabung Haji chairman Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim. Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor had also been charged.
“Muhyiddin said he was willing (to work with Umno) and finally he became prime minister,” Mahathir said.
PPBM broke away from the then ruling coalition Pakatan Harapan on Feb 24, following Mahathir’s resignation as prime minister.
Muhyiddin, who is PPBM president, was sworn in as the country’s eighth prime minister on March 1 after receiving support from Barisan Nasional, PAS, Sarawak’s GPS and some MPs from PPBM and PKR.
Pakatan Harapan, now comprising PKR, DAP and Amanah, nominated Mahathir to the post again on Feb 29.
However, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointed Muhyiddin after meeting MPs and political blocs to establish who was likely to get the majority support to become prime minister.
The Dewan Rakyat will meet on May 18. Political parties and other societies have placed pressure on Muhyiddin to prove he has the majority support of the 222 MPs.
Mahathir said Najib had realised that it was not enough for Umno to form a new government with the support of PAS.
Mahathir claimed Najib was trying to play the race card by saying he wanted to fight for Malay rights, which were allegedly under threat from the Chinese, especially those in DAP.
“He (Najib) had to persuade PPBM members to support his efforts as the PH government is supposedly dominated by DAP,” Mahathir said in his speech.
“There are PPBM leaders who really believe this. That is why they are also working with Najib.”