Speaking in an interview on Feb. 17, he said, "I feel that my biggest regret is when I resigned back in 2003; no one asked me to quit and I was still popular with two-thirds support."
Resigned after his first term as he felt old
Mahathir then explained that his resignation was because he felt "old" and wanted to take a break and rest.
He also added that he wanted to give the younger generation a chance.
However, "just a few days after I resigned, people started coming to me, droves of them, pleading for help," he highlighted.
"I told them I wanted to take a rest, but they still came, so how am I to reject them?" he said.
Successors created "unease among the people"
Mahathir also denied having personal problems with his successors, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak, and said that he had personally picked Abdullah as his successor, and endorsed Najib when he succeeded Abdullah.
"I will support them if what they are doing is right. I would support them for their performance," Mahathir added.
However, he noted that both of them had created unease among Malaysians.
As per Mahathir:
"I never imagined that people who succeeded me or came after me would be doing things that are just not right and had created unease among the people."
This brought up his next point that his principle was to never be blindly loyal to a leader.
"We should be loyal to (them) when (they) do the right things," he said.
Does not regret his decision to resign in 2020 however
Mahathir struck a contrast on his 2020 decision to resign as Prime Minister for his second term however.
Here, he said that he had no regrets as circumstances had forced his hand.
Blaming the betrayal by his fellow party members in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), he elaborated that his party and coalition had collapsed.
Mahathir was subsequently nominated as interim Prime Minister in the wake of his resignation.
Following this chain of events, Muhyiddin Yassim was nominated as the succeeding Prime Minister of Malaysia by the country's king, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Mahathir has since called on Muhyiddin to resign on the grounds that the current government is unstable.
Top image from Mahathir Mohamad Facebook