Ten days after being accused of betraying former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s new PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin says he has apologised to his predecessor in a letter.
“First of all, I prayed for the good health of Tun (Dr Mahathir) and his family. Secondly, I expressed my apology if any of the events of the last few days had hurt his feelings,” Muhyiddin said at a press conference on Wednesday (Mar 11).
According to Bernama, Muhyiddin had just chaired his first Cabinet meeting when he revealed the contents of his letter.
Expressing wishes to meet with the 94-year-old politician, Muhyiddin added that he would like him to endorse the new Perikatan Nasional government.
“We have formed this government and want Tun (Dr Mahathir) to endorse this government, that is the government for the people. It is legal, it is constitutional,” he was quoted by the news website as saying.
The 72-year-old, who just unveiled his Cabinet on Monday, also thanked Mahathir for comments published on Wednesday morning which seemed to acknowledge the new-found strength of Muhyiddin’s government.
Sinar Harian reported that Mahathir said the new premier “can last until the general election“.
“Now that he is the government, he can afford to offer inducements to many… I found that some of my supporters have been made ministers, so they switched sides,” he reportedly said, according to a translation by Malay Mail.
Bernama said in its report that Muhyiddin also promised his government would “deliver”, and rejected the idea of having a snap election.
“If you want to have a snap election, I don’t want that. This is not the right time. We are here to serve. I wish that everybody, not just Tun, gives us all the encouragement so that we do what is best for all,” he added.
At the same press conference, the PM also said he was willing to take a pay cut given the nation’s current economic situation and the large size of the Cabinet, the New Straits Times (NST) reported.
“We know we have to be prudent, but we are facing a (current) situation where national unity is crucial. We need harmony…There are costs (that come with it). We will do whatever it takes (to maintain harmony),” he reportedly said.
But the PM also added that pay cuts had not yet been discussed in the Cabinet. “I will take the challenge for my salary to be cut 5 to 10 per cent. I can do it first. (However), we didn’t discuss that today, so don’t preempt,” NST quoted him as saying.