“I often slept off because I suffer from sleep Apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Tun Mahathir Mohamad knew about it.”

This was the honest admission of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in his new book, aptly titled, ‘Awakening, the Abdullah years in Malaysia’.

Abdullah, who more often than not becomes the victim of public scrutiny and criticism over his habit of dozing off in official functions, said it is not right for Mahathir to still criticise him after knowing about his condition.

Sleep Apnea is a type of sleep disorder characterised by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep.

“I did tell Mahathir of my condition so for him to say I doze off because I am not interested in the job is most unkind.

"He knew the problem and yet he chose to say all these things,” he said in an excerpt of the book reproduced by new portal Malaysiakini yesterday.

Abdullah said he realised about his condition after his late wife Datin Seri Endon Mahmood and his colleagues pointed it out to him.

“My late wife, staffers and close associates pointed out to me that I had a tendency to doze off.

"I then consulted a good friend of mine, Dr Balvinder of Putrajaya Hospital who then suggested they do a sleep study on me.

“The doctors warned me to take this seriously. I then went to Australia (in 2007) for a surgery to remove the polyps in my nose that was causing me to have breathing difficulties," he said in the book.

The book is set to hit the stands at the end of the months.

Abdullah became Malaysia’s fifth Prime Minister after taking over from Mahathir in 2004.

He held the position until 2009.