Dr Mahathir Mohamad has ruled out any possibility of reconciliation with his one-time ally Muhyiddin Yassin, accusing the Bersatu president and his successor as prime minister of embracing the same brand of politics that saw them tackle Najib Razak’s administration in the 2018 polls, including political appointments to government agencies.
“How can I accept Muhyiddin like that?” he said in an interview with Singapore’s Straits Times on Friday, adding that Muhyiddin had “adopted the kind of strategy that Najib had, undermining all those who are against him”.
Muhyiddin co-founded Bersatu together with Mahathir after he was sacked by Umno in 2016. Najib said at the time that Muhyiddin, who had been the party’s deputy president, had committed disciplinary offences by sharing a stage with the opposition and attacking Umno’s leadership.
Bersatu later joined forces with PKR, DAP and Amanah under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition which ousted Najib’s Barisan Nasional government in the historic May 9 polls.
However, it exited PH earlier this year along with a group of MPs led by former PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, causing the coalition to lose its majority in Parliament.
Mahathir resigned as prime minister and was replaced by Muhyiddin who received the support of MPs from Bersatu, Umno, PAS, GPS and other parties from Sabah.
In the interview, Mahathir said Muhyiddin was now willing to work with Najib as “politics is more important than principles”.
On allegations that he himself has been involved in cronyism and nepotism, he said: “We helped a lot of people whether we know or don’t know them.
“Hundreds and thousands of them were helped. Some of them actually took advantage and are doing well. But the moment somebody succeeds (the accusation is) that is my crony.”