In his book, My Story: Justice in the Wildness, Mr Thomas recounted the events that took place in February 2020 when Dr Mahathir resigned from the premiership and the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition fell apart.
“I have found these paragraphs difficult to write. It pains me to be critical of the Prime Minister who had appointed me, and stood by me over twenty months despite massive attacks from the majority race. But posterity will judge harshly the three decisions that Tun Dr. Mahathir took on Monday, 24th February 2020,” wrote the former A-G.
Dr Mahathir, 95, responded with a Facebook post on Wednesday (Feb 3) that contained 35 points.
The former Prime Minister began by writing, “I was shocked to read excerpts from Tommy Thomas’ book My Story: Justice in the Wildness. Tommy was one of those lawyers who hated me.”
He had appointed Mr Thomas, a non-Malay, as A-G, knowing there would be a backlash against this decision.
“I was generally satisfied with Tommy’s work,” he wrote but added, “The anger of the Malays against me was terrible.”
He then rebutted some of the assertions made by Mr Thomas.
Dr Mahathir wrote that it was the King who had suggested that he be appointed Interim Prime Minister, since the Deputy Prime Minister, Wan Aziza Wan Ismail, could not take this post, “because the PH government had already collapsed”.
Regarding his resignation, Dr Mahathir wrote, “After having informed the PH coalition leaders, I expected to have an audience with the King that afternoon. I believe he had already received my resignation letter when I met him that afternoon. He at first refused to accept my resignation. I was adamant and he then accepted it. But immediately he asked me to be interim Prime Minister.
“He never proposed any other name, certainly not Wan Azizah, the Deputy Prime Minister (DPM). I never offered myself but it would be rude for me not to accept his proposal.”
As for Mr Thomas, Dr Mahathir said he had trusted and defended the former A-G, and had even recommended a Tan Sri-ship for him.
But he added, “I had taken so much bashing because of him that I felt he should not continue after ending his term.”
Dr Mahathir wrote that, contrary to what Mr Thomas had written, it was the former A-G who offered to resign.
He added, “His account about my resignation is quite fantastic. I had always been labelled a dictator by the opposition when I was Prime Minister. I never expected the Opposition to adore me. That would not justify their opposition against me. But I resigned in 2003 because I felt I had been PM too long. Dictators don’t resign. But of course those who were against me were not going to stop claiming I was a dictator.
I don’t believe in overstaying my welcome.”
Dr Mahathir’s post can be read in full here.
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