Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed addressed the nation this afternoon on the current political situation, which has resulted in the collapse of the 20-month-old Pakatan Harapan government.
The 94-year-old politician began his speech by apologising to Malaysians for the current imbroglio.
Mahathir also confirmed speculation that he wanted to form a unity government, saying the new administration would focus on national interests instead of political parties.
"I realise whatever I do now will be objected and rejected by many, but maybe some will support it.
"I do not seek to be liked by many. I will only do which I think is good for the country.
"Politics, politicians, and political parties prioritise politics too much to the point they forget the country is facing economic and health problems which threaten the country.
"I believe, right or wrong, politics and political parties must be set aside for now. If I am allowed, I will try to form an administration that doesn't side with any party.
"Only national interests will be prioritised. If allowed, this is what I will try," he said.
Mahathir denied that he is obsessed with power, noting how some have accused him of being power-crazy and reiterated his refusal to work with Umno.
“I resigned because I do not see power and positions as the 'be all and end all'. Power is a means to achieve objectives for the good of the nation,” he added.
Dewan Rakyat to decide successor
In his brief address, Mahathir made no mention of PKR president Anwar Ibrahim or the agreement to pass the leadership baton to the latter.
Contrary to Harapan’s pre-GE14 pact that Anwar would be his successor, Mahathir instead said the decision was up to the Dewan Rakyat.
“Actually, I promised that I would resign to give the Dewan Rakyat the chance to decide who will replace me. If it is true that I still have the support, I will return. If not, I will accept whoever that is chosen.
“The chance to change the leadership remains. Except in my opinion, because I am supported by both sides, the time for me to resign has yet to arrive,” he said.
Read the English translation of Mahathir’s full speech here.