Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he cannot do as he pleases as he is bound by the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.
"I have to go according to the manifesto set up by the coalition.
"I am not free to do anything I like because I am bound to carry on what the coalition has decided, and the coalition has decided that we will go back to democracy," he said in an interview with Al-Jazeera.
Mahathir was asked if he would revert to the strongman tactics employed during his first tenure as prime minister.
However, Mahathir told reporters in Parliament yesterday that the manifesto was more of “a guide than a Bible”.
"For certain reasons, we cannot adhere to the actual manifesto. Please remember that the manifesto is not a Bible, it is a guidance.
"Sometimes we can do things, but sometimes we find that we cannot, so we have to be practical-minded," he had said.
Mahathir said this when quizzed on Harapan not adhering to its manifesto, which stipulated that the Dewan Rakyat speaker would be appointed from among the coalition's MPs.
Harapan had appointed former Court of Appeal judge Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof as the speaker instead.
In an immediate response, former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak demanded that Harapan honours its manifesto, saying "a promise is a promise".
Pakatan Harapan Youth strategic director Shukri Razab also expressed concern that Mahathir's remarks could open the door to more U-turns on the manifesto.
Previously, Mahathir was on the verge of violating the manifesto when he named himself as education minister.
He relented after it was pointed out that the manifesto barred the prime minister from holding other ministerial portfolios.