Her husband is regarded as a master in the art of statecraft, with his detractors accusing him of resorting to Machiavellian measures. But Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's wife is averse to politics.
“It can be dirty,” said Dr Siti Hasmah Ali.
“I don't like politics. It is something that is beyond me. I know you can do a lot of things, you can have power, you can do this and that in politics. I don't like that. It is not natural,” she added.
Siti Hasmah shared her thoughts on this, her husband's return to active politics and even her fear of helicopters in an exclusive interview with the Malaysian Reserve.
“I hate helicopters. They have a bad record in my mind,” she said after returning from a trip to Cameron Highlands to drop off Mahathir, who campaigned for Pakatan Harapan in last month's by-election.
Siti Hasmah, who has been married to Mahathir for 63 years, also did not conceal her disappointment that her husband had to helm the nation again after doing so for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
“I didn't give him back, they stole him from me,” she said.
“When I got to know about it (Mahathir re-elected as PM), I asked him and he said they had appointed him unanimously, four parties, and that he had no choice but to accept it. He felt that it was his responsibility,” she added.
Siti Hasmah believes that Mahathir would hand over the leadership reins to his successor before his term ends.
“He has always said that when he took on the job as the seventh prime minister, it would just be temporary.
“Just to see the country going back on track, and once everything is settled, he will leave. I don’t think he would want to finish the term,” she added.
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In the interview, Siti Hasmah also commented on the criticisms against Mahathir and expressed concern that her husband might respond incorrectly to certain issues which he has strong opinions about as a result of his hearing loss.
Citing the recent Oxford Union debate as an example, she said: “My husband couldn’t hear what they said. The questions were posed to him, he didn't get the question correctly because of his hearing, and he gave them the wrong answers. That is not good.”
“If I had been close to him, I would have cautioned him, but it was not my job to do that,” she said, being the always concerned wife. "Sometimes, I wish I had an earpiece, and he has one. I can communicate and say, 'No you’re wrong'. I always fear that he might say the wrong things,” she added.