Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has declared his former right-hand man Musa Hitam as his "first failure".
"My first failure was Musa Hitam himself. He could not wait for me to retire.
"So he resigned after five years being with me as my deputy, in a government his boys called the MM government," Mahathir, the longest-serving prime minister, said in a blog post today.
He was responding to Musa, who said that Mahathir is both the architect and death of Vision 2020, with his penchant for grooming followers and getting rid of potential leaders.
Elaborating on Vision 2020, Mahathir said he did not train anyone to make a success of Vision 2020.
"I believed in leadership by example. I must have set a bad example because those who succeeded me all failed to make a success of Vision 2020.
"I am to blame, of course," he said.
Despite all that Musa ( photo ) had done against Mahathir during his tenure as prime minister, Mahathir said, he still appointed Musa as special envoy to the United Nations, with ministerial rank.
"He (Musa) believed the Umno supreme council would throw me out and appoint him as president.
"The council decided to persuade him to return as deputy prime minister and deputy president. He came back as deputy president," Mahathir explained.
Musa then persuaded Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to contest for president as he was ready to be deputy president and deputy prime minister under Tengku Razaleigh instead of under him, Mahathir said.
"This he did, even though I overlooked his bad faith and later appointed him as special envoy to the UN with ministerial rank," he lamented.
Mahathir also pointed out that former cabinet ministers Syed Hamid Albar, Rais Yatim, and Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, as well as former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, had all sided with Tengku Razaleigh during the 1987 Umno internal crisis.
Even those not loyal were appointed
Despite that, when he won the party elections then, Mahathir said he had appointed those who were not loyal to him as ministers in his cabinet.
"One of them, Abdullah, was eventually named as my successor as prime minister.
"Far from choosing only loyalists, I also chose those disloyal to me," he said.
However, he still thanked Musa for "pinpointing the cause of failure of Vision 2020".
Musa must have known this in 1986, Mahathir said, and it must have been this foresight that caused him to resign from the government that he headed.
"So no one can blame you (Musa). Your service to me and the nation will go down in history," he added.