Aug 8, 2006

Dr Mahathir Denies Power Tussle, Personal Quarrel With Abdullah

Extracted from BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 8 (Bernama) -- Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Monday denied that his recent outburst against the government and his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was an indication of a power tussle within Umno.

He said his criticisms were merely centred on projects and policies that had been implemented by the government and were not in any way a personal quarrel between him and Abdullah.

"No. I am not quarrelling with him. I'm just talking about the projects and I have been telling people that there is no personal quarrel which can be resolved merely by shaking hands or saying that let's forgive and forget.

"I'm talking about the things that are done that I think are wrong. But obviously a lot of people think that it is right. All the ministers and all the MBs (Menteris Besar) were all thinking that it was right," he told reporters after delivering a luncheon talk here Tuesday.

The luncheon talk entitled "Globalisation and Its Challenges for the Developed and Developing Countries" was organised by the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Dr Mahathir felt that as long as he was an Umno member, he should be given the opportunity to meet Umno members to explain his stand, saying that attempts were being made to block him from doing so.

"If Umno allows me to explain, I can go and see them and explain to them. With that, they will not be confused," he said, adding that he had no plans of meeting Umno members unless he was invited.

He was also asked about an assurance by Abdullah during an interview with TV3 Monday night that the prime minister would continue to help Proton, the national car project.

Abdullah had said: "I will surely not allow Proton to fall. I will do whatever it takes to help Proton. Proton has a lot of vendors relying on it... if Proton falls, then the vendors will follow suit".

Reacting to this, Dr Mahathir said he was taking a wait-and-see stand before he could accept that the government's plan to help Proton would work.

On another point, Dr Mahathir also concurred with Abdullah's stand that there ought to be hard evidence before anyone could be accused of corrupt practice.

"It is quite right if you do not have evidence of corruption, don't say that is corruption. If you can prove a corruption without hard evidence, I think you are a good detective," he added.

He also agreed with the government's intention to consider a private sector proposal for a bullet train service from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, a project that had been turned down during his administration.

"During my time, it (the bullet train project) was not suitable. Maybe now it is suitable. We have our own ideas (then). Other people have other ideas," he said when asked why the project was rejected when he was prime minister.

On the question of increased security around him since the recent pepper spray incident in Kota Baharu, Dr Mahathir said: "I am not improving my security, but it is the government who is very caring about me, so they increased the security. Not me... I didn't ask, this pepper is something that I take normally with my steak."

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