Dr Mahathir Mohamad has blamed Anwar Ibrahim for causing the 2020 downfall of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, saying he would still be prime minister today if not for the PKR leader.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia, he said this would have prevented Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno from returning to a position of power in the current government.
“When I resigned, the Agong asked all 220 MPs to write down their choice,” he said.
“I thought PH would put my name as I was from PH. But Anwar said he had a lot of support. Anwar got 92 votes from PH and I got 62 – not from PH, but from other parties and other people, I don’t know who.”
Mahathir said if he had received 92 votes from PH in addition to the 62, he would have gained the support of 154 MPs.
“I would have been prime minister,” he added. “But he made me lose, and in so doing, he lost as well.”
PH swept to power at the 14th general election in 2018, toppling BN which had held Putrajaya for more than six decades.
However, the PH administration collapsed after 22 months due to internal pressure on Mahathir to resign as prime minister and make way for Anwar, as agreed.
It was replaced by a Perikatan Nasional government led by Bersatu’s Muhyiddin Yassin, which saw Umno’s return to federal power.
Muhyiddin meanwhile lost his majority support last year due to a group of Umno MPs aligned with their president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak. He was succeeded by Umno’s Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
In his interview, Mahathir also spoke of the push for a “big tent” approach among opposition parties for the general election to come.
He agreed that such a move was the only way to remove BN from power, but said he would reject these efforts if they were led by either Anwar or Muhyiddin.
He said both politicians had personal agendas to guard their own interests instead of that of the people.
“If possible, we should have a big tent approach because our country is facing many problems, especially the Malays – the Malays have a lot of problems,” he said.
“But we have to find people who are straight,” he added. “We can’t have people who go into politics for the sake of money and so on. Sorry.”