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GEORGE TOWN: It is very typical of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to put the blame on every other person, even if he was the cause of the problem, says a veteran social activist.
P. Ramakrishnan said the former prime minister has no basis to claim that he would still be prime minister if it were not for Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“There is no justification to blame Anwar for his lack of majority support among the 222 MPs.
“All Dr Mahathir had was a pathetic 62 votes – 27.9% – which effectively removed him from the running to be the eighth prime minister of Malaysia.
“He was never in the race to be the PM,” said Ramakrishnan in a statement.
Ramakrishnan, who is a former president of Penang-based civil society group Aliran, added that it was typical of Dr Mahathir to project himself as blameless and claimed he was maligned by his enemies and his erstwhile friends.
“In short, he was never the problem.
“It came as no surprise when he claimed, ‘If not for Anwar, I’d still be PM’,” he said.
In an interview with Utusan Malaysia on Friday (June 3), Dr Mahathir said he would only engage in the “big tent” approach with the Opposition bloc and other parties provided it was not led by Anwar or Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Dr Mahathir also said he would still be prime minister in the Pakatan Harapan government if not for Anwar.
Ramakrishnan said Dr Mahathir never had a chance, not even the remotest possibility of ever becoming the prime minister for the third time.
“He was a non-starter,” he said, adding that Dr Mahathir could have continued to be the prime minister if he had not foolishly resigned.
Ramakrishnan added that all Pakatan coalition partners – PKR, Parti Amanah Negara and DAP – were solidly behind Dr Mahathir when he resigned.
“He took a calculated risk by resigning on Feb 24, 2020, hoping he would be appointed as prime minister once again by the Agong to lead a ‘unity government’ that he was bandying about, free to choose his own Cabinet which would be answerable only to him.
“That strategy failed miserably and he was out in the cold. He did it to himself.
“When he resigned, he did not even bother to consult or inform Pakatan.
“That would have been the courteous thing to do in all good etiquette.
“This breached the principle of reciprocity between the leader and the led,” he said.
On a separate note, Ramakrishnan said Muhyiddin’s ascendency would forever remain a “mystery”.
“Anwar had 92 MPs backing him. Dr Mahathir had 62, bringing the total to 154.
“This meant the remaining MPs – out of the total of 222 – numbered only 68.
“The third aspiring candidate, with 68 MPs backing him, did not even qualify to be considered as the next PM.
“Under the circumstances, it was Anwar who stood to be appointed as the eighth prime minister of Malaysia.
“But strangely, that did not happen. Anwar was bypassed,” he said.
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