Statement by Prime Minister Najib Razak

1.      Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s latest U-turn and backing for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be Prime Minister is not what it seems. It comes after 20 years of Mahathir vilifying him and using every possible means at his disposal to eliminate Anwar from the political process, including arresting him under the now-repealed Internal Security Act, prosecuting and jailing him and a sustained campaign to attack his moral character.

2.      However, as Mahathir knows well, Anwar cannot legally contest, so this U-turn is not about the coming general election. In reality, Mahathir’s new appeasement of Anwar is driven by his deep concern about the Cabinet’s decision to form a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the truth behind the Bank Negara RM30 billion forex losses during his Premiership, as detailed in the Special Task Force report.

3.      Mahathir knows that the RCI findings could lead to criminal prosecution, so he cannot afford to have individuals highly relevant to the case such as Anwar testifying against him. It is ironic that Mahathir now needs Anwar, the man he sacked and jailed.  Just as he now needs Lim Kit Siang, another man he jailed, because in reality Kit Siang controls the opposition as DAP have the vast majority of Parliamentary seats – whereas Mahathir’s party has just one.

4.      Mahathir’s crusade is motivated not by the national interest, but by selfish personal interest. He is obsessed by saving his family legacy and making his son Mukhriz Mahathir Prime Minister.

5.      He has no principles and will do anything – including allying with those he jailed, calling for foreign intervention in our sovereign democratic nation, sabotaging our economy, and making 100 U-turns if so required to manipulate people’s minds – just as a means to achieve his desired ends. Anwar may fall for this, but I believe the nation will not. Because with only one Parliamentary seat, the Chairman of Pribumi cannot decide who becomes Prime Minister. It would be grossly undemocratic.

6.      Mahathir demanded Tun Abdullah Badawi resign as Prime Minister, now demands my resignation, and will demand my successor resigns until his son becomes Prime Minister – whatever the cost to Malaysia. This time we will not let him succeed, because democratic process must prevail, and the interests of the country must come before Mahathir’s family.

7.      Nothing is more important than the needs of the people. So the government under my leadership will continue to focus unwaveringly on the economic welfare, social wellbeing and security of all Malaysians. Their interests must always come first, and we will deliver on our promises.