“Members of the press, firstly, thank you very much for your patience. We have taken a little bit more time than expected. Slightly about 6 hours more,” Tun Mahathir said during his first interview after being installed as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Even in his opening speech, Tun Mahathir managed to inject his very own sense of wit. Where the signing in of Tun Mahathir as prime minister had expected to happen much earlier in the day, it went on till close to 10pm in the night where the ceremony finally took place. Tun Mahathir then went on to address the members of the media at slightly past 11.30pm.
The 93-year-old is no stranger to ruling a nation and has gained the attention of young millennials everywhere after running in the 14th General Elections.
In the past few days itself, several notable quotes have escaped the lips of Tun Mahathir and here are just some of the witty words by our 7th Prime Minister:
1. They can have the flags, we prefer the votes.
“In the flag war we lost. We lost the flag war completely. But they can have the flags, we prefer the votes.”
Tun Mahathir referred to how the flags for the Barisan Nasional party was aplenty during the election period and he admitted that in the flag war, the Pakatan Harapan party may have lost, but then quickly added that he would much rather prefer having won the votes instead—which ultimately he did.
2. Unfortunately, some TV stations and some newspapers were unable to count beyond 200.
“Before Najib announced the dissolution of parliament, we were expecting between 5000-8000 people (to turn up). But after he announced that he was going to dissolve it and said that the election will be held very soon, the number of people who turned up increased to, at times, 40,000 people. Unfortunately, some TV stations and some newspapers were unable to count beyond 200. So we had an audience of 200,” Tun Mahathir mentioned in his speech yesterday.
He was speaking on the rapid support for Pakatan Harapan where at times, 40,000 people would show up in support of them. Unfortunately, some media channels reported far less numbers and Tun Mahathir joked that perhaps they were unable to count past 200.
3. Please remember that I was the dictator.
After completing his first speech as the 7th prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir said, “If you have anything more, you may ask questions, in a very orderly fashion. Please remember that I was the dictator,” he said to the uproar of the crowd before him.
Tun Mahathir was of course referring to how he was labelled as a dictator during his time as the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
4. We will also not have the petrol price adjusted every few seconds.
During a recent speech, Tun Mahathir mentioned that there’s plenty to do for the government but his concern is for the economy and finances of the nation. He added that there should be no cause for the devaluation of the ringgit but it cannot be revalued too much “or else we will not be competitive”. Before completing this section of his speech, Tun Mahathir said, “We will also not have the petrol price adjusted every few seconds. It’s very disturbing for petrol dealers.”
The 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia was referring to how petrol prices in Malaysia as of late had always observed a periodic rise and fall and considering how it happened very often, Tun Mahathir reassured Malaysians that it won’t be adjusted “every few seconds” any longer.
5. Certain heads must fall.
“Are you going to reshuffle the head of any departments of the cabinet?” one reporter asked.
“Reshuffle? It’s going to be a new cabinet. No reshuffling,” came Tun Mahathir’s reply to a question he had misheard. After being corrected on the exact question at hand, he said, “Oh…head of department. Yeah, certain heads must fall.” This received the impact he was looking for, with the crowd, consisting of members of the media, cheering on.
6. Tomorrow there is a holiday—but I will not take any holidays.
When asked what are his plans for the next few days, Tun Mahathir shared that tomorrow (May 11) is a holiday. But he will not take any. “Tomorrow we will have a meeting of the presidential council of Pakatan Harapan because we have to discuss about the formation of the cabinet,” he said.
Tun Mahathir reassured the citizens that he meant business this time and despite it being a public holiday for all Malaysians, he would not be taking one as he knows that there is much to be done.
7. I think we can squeeze some people who have the money.
When asked by a member of the press if Tun Mahathir plans to settle the country’s debt, he mentioned “Of course, that will be our priority. We have to reduce the debt and now we think that we can do a bit there because we know where the money is.” He later added, “And I think we can squeeze some people who have the money.”
Tun Mahathir was referring to the fact that though there is much debt to be settled, we can be rest assured that he will prioritise this matter. He then jokingly added that he could “squeeze it from some people who have the money.”
8. I’m a very nice person.
“There is a speculation that the current Agong doesn’t like you,” one member of the media said, in relation to the fact that there was a supposed delay in the signing in of Tun Mahathir as Prime Minister.
“Yea I don’t know about “not liking me”. I’m a very nice person,” came Tun Mahathir’s response. He then added, “I have the support of the majority of members of parliament. That is what the provision of the constitution of the government says. It doesn’t say “I like you, I don’t like you. I love you, I don’t. That has no role at all.”
9. Even answering you takes time.
When asked why there has been a supposed delay in the signing in of Tun Mahathir as the 7th prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir said matter-of-fact, “There is a delay in doing everything.”
“For example, I was very sleepy this morning, I got up late and lots of people got up late. The moment I got up, as I was having breakfast (and I had a nice breakfast this morning), I called out all the officers’ concern and told them all the things we had to do. All the things that we have to do takes time. Even writing a letter like this (points to a letter). It has to be collected and has to be ensured that the right words are used. So as you can see, everything takes time. Even answering you takes time.”
In these 2 days itself, Tun Mahathir has shown his witty side in response to the media. This has left us wondering what else the 7th Prime Minister has to say in the coming days. One thing’s for sure though, he’ll have a very Tun Mahathir-like response to it; one that’s witty and definitely something that you would not have anticipated at all.
Feature Image Credit: WowBerita