Malaysian interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad breaks silence since his Resignation, makes important statement

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Malaysian interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad breaks silence since his Resignation, makes important statement

ISLAMABAD - Malaysian interim Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad broke the silence on Wednesday since his resignation, saying that he was willing to return to power if there was sufficient support for him to establish a non-partisan government prioritizing the interest of the country.

Meanwhile, the previous ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition announced that they are backing Mahathir's former deputy Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister.

In his first public address since resigning on Monday, Mahathir said there were "many reasons" behind his resignation, but specifically brushing off accusations that he was not willing to give up his position and that he was crazy on power.

"To me, that power and position is 'a means to an end' or a tool to achieve the objective. And our objective is of course for the good of the country," the 94-year-old said in a televised speech.

He had promised to resign to give an opportunity to the lower house of parliament to pick the one to replace him. "If it's true that I am still supported, I will return. Otherwise, I will accept whoever is chosen," he said.

Mahathir called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to support him as individuals across party lines to serve the country.

"Politics, politicians and political parties are attaching too much importance to politics to forget that the country is facing economic and health problems that are threatening the country," he said.

Mahathir said the politics and political parties need to be set aside for now. "If it is allowed, I will try to have a government that is not in favor of any party. Only the interests of the nation will be prioritized," he said.

Mahathir led the Pakatan Harapan coalition to power after winning the general elections in May 2018. He abruptly resigned on Monday following rumors of the forming of a new ruling collation involves multiple parties.

Malaysia's King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah accepted Mahathir's resignation but appointed him as the interim prime minister. Sultan Abdullah interviewed members of the 222-seat lower house of the parliament to decide the new prime minister.

Following Mahathir's speech, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) presidential council said in a statement that all of its three remaining component parties had supported the candidacy of Anwar as the prime minister.

The statement said the coalition had invited Mahathir to reestablish the PH government, but the latter didn't agree to participate in the council meeting.

"Thus, the decision of the presidential council determined that the Prime Minister candidate of Pakatan Harapan will be Anwar Ibrahim," it said.

The PH coalition swept to power during national polls in May 2018 but ceased to command a majority of MPs after Mahathir's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) party withdrew from the coalition on Monday. - Xinhua