Monday, September 27, 2021

I feel relieved, says Muhyiddin as he talks about God, cycle of life, and worldly positions

The outgoing prime minister says he expects historians to include only a short footnote about his tenure.

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Outgoing prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin says he felt relieved that the burden on him to lead Malaysia’s battle against the Covid-19 pandemic was finally lifted with his decision to resign from the top post.

In his farewell message to close aides at the Prime Minister Office on Aug 16, Muhyiddin shared a private conversation with his wife Noorainee Abdul Rahman after their pre-dawn prayers that day.

“As we sat down after performing the subuh prayers together with my wife, usually we would sit and talk for about 10 minutes after prayers. She asked, how do you feel? I said I feel relieved that this burden that is on me as prime minister now is no more after today,” he said just before heading to Istana Negara to submit his resignation to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Muhyiddin said he had always held on to the belief that one must do the right thing, adding that the office of the prime minister is just a worldly position.

He also said life is a journey with the ultimate goal of attaining God’s pleasure.

“Our consideration is not worldly. That’s why to me, losing this post of prime minister, it is something worldly. I can’t take it anywhere,” said Muhyiddin, who has backed his former deputy Ismail Sabri Yaakob as his replacement.

Ismail is set to be sworn into office at Istana Negara tomorrow.

Muhyiddin said he only expected a brief mention by historians about him due to his short tenure as prime minister.

“Maybe there will be a footnote mention about me, that there was once a prime minister, his name was Muhyiddin Yassin, or Mahiaddin Yassin, who became the eighth prime minister.

“Maybe it will only be a short chapter as I was not that long (in office). But I think I should be proud that we have tried,” said Muhyiddin.

Muhyiddin resigned this week after about a dozen MPs from Umno led by former prime minister Najib Razak and party president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced their withdrawal of support for him.

The 74-year-old was sacked from the Cabinet by Najib in 2015 for questioning the latter’s involvement in the 1MDB scandal.

After a brief stint in the political wilderness, he formed Bersatu, joined hands with opposition parties in the 2018 polls and returned as a senior Cabinet member in Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government.

After the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government in 2020, Muhyiddin was appointed as prime minister.

Muhyiddin said if the chair at his office could talk, it would tell about the short meeting he had with former prime minister Najib Razak just before he was sacked as the deputy prime minister in 2015.

“Barely half an hour (meeting Najib), he kicked me out. I went back to the DPM’s office, gathered everyone and told them I won’t be here long. I said, ‘Sorry, we have to pack up. I just met Najib. He sacked me’.”

He said it didn’t take long for him to clear his belongings, adding that there was only a book given by a friend which he took back with him.

“I have nothing secret on my table, or in my drawers. Secret letters, nothing.

“Because we know we did not do anything wrong.”

He also described his return to the Prime Minister’s Office last year as part of the cycle of life.

“What goes up, must come down. But what goes down, insha Allah, will come back.”

Recalling his days as an assistant district officer, Muhyiddin said he never imagined that one day he would hold the nation’s most powerful job.

“I have great respect and confidence in all civil servants. I was there before for a short three years, and then I resigned to join the private sector. I never imagined that one day I would become the prime minister. God is great.”

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