The Prime Minister said the attacks from Dr Mahathir were expected as he knew the former premier was “obsessed” with power and still wanted a hand in making decisions on national policies and plans.
“Dr Mahathir is obsessed over control and I have known him for a long time and I know I am left with two choices. To be a prime minister who refers to him for ‘advice’ or act according to my leadership style.
“I refer it as advice but they are probably instructions on government administration to please him,” he said in an exclusive interview with Metro TV which was aired here last night.
Najib said Dr Mahathir’s attack on his leadership began when he did not want to be a prime minister who merely followed instructions but was confident of his own leadership, able to make decisions according to the mandate of the people and party.
“For that reason I became a PM responsible to the people and deciding what is best for the nation. But I am aware Dr Mahathir was not happy with me, because history has seen how he had rejected and sacked several leaders during his premiership.
The Prime Minister admitted that though Mahathir was his mentor he had used his own discretion in running the country.
He said Dr Mahathir then resorted to various means to topple him including making the two by-elections, namely at Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar as referendums to topple his leadership.
He said, if the two by-elections were to be called referendums it meant the people’s support for the current leadership had increased due to Barisan Nasional’s victory in both by-elections.
Najib said those who were dissatisfied with his leadership, including the oppositon parties later politicised the 1MDB issue and the company’s business problems became a political issue.
He said the 1MDB issue was a business problem and the government had taken several measures to address its weaknesses including replacing the chief executive and conducting an internal investigation through the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“The motive (to turn the 1MDB business issue into a political issue) was obvious. There are people who are not pleased with my leadership so they try to unseat me because other issues were of no concern,” he said.
Najib said the US Department of Justice (DOJ) in its statement had clearly mentioned the names of individuals who were subjected to civil action but they were not criminal charges and did not involve the Malaysian government.
“We were the first country to investigate the 1MDB issue involving the police, MACC, and the PAC and we will take action to improve on all 1MDB weaknesses.
“It is the people who will determine what they want, and I am confident they will make the right choice when the time comes,” he added.