In an interview with the Turkish TV channel TRT, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he feels Malaysians identify him with his first term as PM, a time which they miss.
He says after he resigned as PM in 2003, Malaysians had high hopes the country will be further developed but it was not the case.
“They yearn to go to that period, they identify me with the development of Malaysia. They believe I may be able to reverse the process and make Malaysia an Asian tiger again,” he says.
He was asked if the economy was the fundamental priority.
“Yes the economy is the priority and we want the Malaysians to feel they have a good government in place.”
He says it will take sometime because the country has to recover the money lost in the 1MDB scandal and without this the country will have to spend its earnings to pay debts.
“It is difficult for us to use government finances to improve the economy,” he says.
He was asked whether he knew who is the most loved person according to a You Gov poll. Jackie Chan came in third place, Malaysia’s first astronaut Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Mustapha in second place and Dr Mahathir is in first place.
Consequentially, he was asked by the interviewer if this love for him from Malaysians would push him to consider delaying stepping down.
He insisted he will stick to his promise to leave office before the 5-year mandate.
Dr Mahathir left office in 2003 after a 22 year rule, handing power to his then deputy Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He then forced Abdullah out of power saying the country was not in good shape under his leadership.
This meant Najib Razak would become PM in 2009. But Dr Mahathir left Umno, the party of Najib, to join the opposition after he rekindled with Anwar Ibrahim.
The duo made an agreement supported by the Pakatan Harapan coalition that Dr Mahathir will resign well before the 5-year term to hand power to Anwar. -/TISG