KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak admitted that he was hurt by the many personal attacks launched by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against him.
Najib, who is also UMNO president, said he could accept all the criticisms made by the former prime minister if it were against his policies and administration.
“But he (Dr Mahathir) voiced out his opinions on matters that are too personal…,” he said in an interview with TV3 in conjunction with the UMNO General Assembly 2015.
The interview was conducted by Media Prima Berhad Group Managing Editor of News and Current Affairs Datuk Seri Mohd Ashraf Abdullah, The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd Group Managing Editor Datuk Abdul Jalil Hamid and Utusan Group Editor-in-Chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak.
Video clips of the interview are available at www.newsplus.my/live-tv.
Najib also said Dr Mahathir did not practice what he preached that when a leader was no longer in the government, should always support the government of the day.
“That’s what he (Dr Mahathir) used to say…but in many cases, it was obvious to me that he did not practice what he preached when he was in the government,” he said.
The prime minister also expressed disappointment with Dr Mahathir for criticising his leadership more often than reprimanding the opposition, especially through his blog postings.
This, Najib said, had caused him and the party leadership to give more and more explanation to the people and party members about issues raised by Dr Mahathir, which he described as mere perceptions and assumptions without solid evidence.
On Dr Mahathir’s proposal to have a council of eldest be set up to guide the prime minister in administrative matters, Najib said such a proposal had never occurred in Malaysia or in any other country.
In fact, Najib said there was no provision in the constitution related to the formation of the council, which would override the power of the Cabinet and the Supreme Council.
“It is not that I don’t respect him (Dr Mahathir) as a statesman, but I am holding to the principle that I am the legitimate prime minister elected by the people. I am also the president elected by the party.
“I’m not the one who will not listen to advice or view of others…but in the end, I have to make a decision on what I think is the best for the country and the party,” he said.