TRONOH, 16 Oct 2008: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today brushed off talk that he will be the de facto prime minister, standing behind Datuk Seri Najib Razak, as alleged by former de facto law minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
Zaid had also suggested that the fall of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the result of Mahathir prevailing.
Describing the talk as “a lot of nonsense”, Mahathir said Najib was his own man and there was no assurance that the deputy prime minister would listen to whatever the former prime minister said.
“I also thought that when Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was appointed (prime minister), he would perhaps consult me on some issues, but as you see he never asked me anything. In fact, he reversed all that I did,” he told reporters after delivering a public lecture at Universiti Teknologi Petronas, here today.
International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had also denied that Mahathir had orchestrated Najib’s and Muhyiddin’s rising popularity so that they could be the future leaders of the country.
“I don’t think you should be in any way confused because you see us together [with Mahathir]. The fact that we meet at certain functions doesn’t mean that there are major developments happening,” Muhyiddin had told reporters after co-chairing the 1st Malaysia-Indonesia Joint Trade and Investment Committee Meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Mahathir, meanwhile, said it was up to Gerakan’s leaders to choose whether the party should remain in the Barisan Nasional (BN).
He said Gerakan had two options if it were to decide to leave the BN: join the opposition or become an independent party.
“With the opposition, it will be a very junior partner as it is mainly concentrated in Penang. If it becomes an independent party, never mind…an independent party has never been able to form a government,” he said.
“It’s up to the Gerakan leaders to choose. If they stay in BN, they have the chance of remaining in government, or become an independent party, or put themselves under (PKR advisor Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim and they have to follow him. It’s their choice,” he said. — Bernama