CYBERJAYA, 22 April 2009: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that he did not interfere in the government administration, and that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not depend on him to make decisions.
He also said that he was not being consulted on any issue and the government was free to decide on anything.
“I’m not a consultant on every issue. In fact, I’m not being consulted. The only way I can suggest my idea is to answer questions from the press and to write in my blog.
“If you ask me a question, I have to answer and maybe my answer is not the same as what the prime minister has in mind. But it doesn’t mean that I’m opposed to him. He has the right to decide,” he told reporters after delivering his speech on The MSC and Leadership in the Information Age at the MSC Malaysia Leadership Talk Series, here, today.
He said it was quite obvious that Najib did not depend on him, especially in appointing ministers and deputy ministers, a few of whom he (Mahathir) thought were undeserving.
Mahathir said he was free to give his opinions but they (the government) did not consult him on any issue.
“If they consult me, of course I tell them why I make the suggestions. They don’t consult me, but I have the right to talk,” he said.
He also denied that he would be leading the campaign in Penanti and that he had only said Barisan Nasional should contest in the by-election.
“That’s all. I didn’t say I offered myself to lead the campaign, the papers said so,” he said.
On the high cost being among the reasons why BN might not be contesting in the Penanti by-election, he said it was a valid reason but it (decision) all depended on the party.
Asked about the increasing interest among Johoreans over the replacement bridge, he said if the bridge was built, the Iskandar project would really take off.
“But if you don’t build the bridge, with that traffic jam, it’ll be worse and the CIQ complex cannot be used properly, because you change the (traffic) direction. So, that’s the problem we face,” he said.
Earlier, answering questions from the floor, Mahathir said a good leader must be knowledgeable, able to recognise the needs of his followers, and be brave to take risks and deliver an idea and prove that it would work.
“If you see the country is not well developed, obviously the need is for development. So, you need people with ideas and those who can implement the ideas.
“As a leader, you must come forward and say, ‘look, we must do it this way’ and of course if you fail, it can be the end of you. But if you don’t try, you will never establish yourself,” he said. — Bernama