PETALING JAYA - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will consider becoming prime minister again "for a short while" if there is consensus and no other candidate for the post emerges.
In a report by the Nikkei Asian Review published on Tuesday, the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman said it is possible he could return to the premiership if the Opposition wins the next general election.
"If there is no candidate ... I might try, only on condition that everybody agrees," the Japanese business journal quoted him as saying.
However, Dr Mahathir emphasised that his main focus is to lead the Opposition to victory as he has "a lot of experience in winning elections."
The former prime minister also stated that he did not abuse his powers during his tenure.
"The prime minister has become too powerful. I was powerful, but I didn't abuse my powers. That is why I was re-elected five times," he said.
Dr Mahathir was in Tokyo on Tuesday to attend the 23rd International Conference on the Future of Asia, a forum for Asian political leaders.
He is Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, holding the position for 22 years from 1981 to 2003.
There have been criticisms that during his tenure as prime minister, his administration actively curbed civil liberties including the freedom of speech, the freedom of assembly, and the freedom of the press, among others.
He was also criticised for using the Internal Security Act (ISA), which has since been repealed, to silence his detractors and detain activists and political opponents.