Malaysiakini News

Dr M: I'll quit if unable to work with Harapan leaders

Published:  |  Modified:

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's political career, which spans decades, is riddled with fallouts.

During his first 22 years as prime minister from 1981 to 2003, he had a total of four deputies, including Pakatan Harapan de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim whom he sacked in 1998.

Following his retirement, Mahathir was instrumental in the ouster of his handpicked successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

At the age of 92, he returned to active politics and defeated Najib Abdul Razak, whom he endorsed as Abdullah's replacement in 2009.

In an interview with Channel News Asia, Mahathir, in responding to a question, acknowledged that a fallout could happen between him and Harapan leaders.

The premier also said he would relinquish his post if he is unable to work with Harapan leaders.

However, Mahathir pointed out that in the past, he was able to work with those who were opposed to him.

"Well, there can be a fallout between me and many, many people. But I have always been able to stay and work with people who were against me.

"I was there for 22 years. I had a lot of people who were against me [...] but I managed. So, if I cannot manage, then I step down," he added.

Asked if he could assure Malaysians that all is well in the Harapan coalition, Mahathir replied: "At the moment, I think I have strong support from a majority of people."

Ringgit peg

Meanwhile, Mahathir said his administration had the option of pegging the ringgit again or "changing currencies", but these options needs to be studied. 

Mahathir had imposed currency controls in 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis to peg the ringgit at RM3.80 to the US dollar. It was removed in July 2005 by the Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration. 

Currently, the ringgit is trading at RM4.023 to the US dollar.

On "changing currencies", Mahathir did not provide details but suggested that it was something that required detailed study. 

"It's not an easy thing because when you want to replace currency, you must know how much currency is in circulation... because we have to replace what is in circulation and that is a very big amount.

"If you were to replace, you need to print huge amounts of paper money... but that is not a decision that one makes lightly. You have to study the effect on the economy," he said. 

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