Oct 29, 2006

Dr Mahathir's Criticism Of Govt Worse Than Kuan Yew's, Says Khaled

JOHOR BAHARU, Oct 29 (Bernama) -- Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin Sunday described former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's criticism of the government was worse than that by Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew who often criticised the Malaysian government.

He said Dr Mahathir, upon his retirement, could have opted to emulate Lee's example by remaining in the government to ensure that the policies implemented under his administration were unchanged, but he chose not to do so.

"If Dr Mahathir had wanted what he had been doing to be continued, he could have done what Lee Kuan Yew did but he himself said that he wanted to retire and that he had been in politics for too long," he said when asked by reporters why Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did not use his powers to appoint Dr Mahathir as a senior minister or a minister mentor.

Khaled, who is a member of the Umno Supreme Council, spoke to reporters at his Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house held at the Taman Johor Jaya multipurpose hall near here.

He said that Dr Mahathir's allegation that Abdullah was a weak leader had revealed that the former prime minister actually wanted Abdullah to be his proxy.

"I feel there are no Malaysians who want their prime minister to be a proxy to anyone," he said.

Khaled said a minister mentor would have to shoulder the responsibility of contributing to and implementing all government decisions but what Dr Mahathir wanted was only a proxy.

"I am not amazed at the criticism from Dr Mahathir and I hope the people will also not be swayed. In the 22 years that Dr Mahathir was the prime minister, several of his deputy prime ministers have disagreed with him and many of the decisions were made on his own," he said.

"Dr Mahathir has assumed Pak Lah (Abdullah) to be weak and therefore picked Pak Lah (as his successor) so that Pak Lah can be his proxy, which is worse than him (Dr Mahathir) being a minister mentor," he said.

Khaled said that unlike Dr Mahathir, Abdullah arrived at decisions after holding meetings and taking into account the views of all quarters.

"In several matters, such as the cancellation of the crooked bridge to link Malaysia and Singapore and the railway double track projects, the decisions were made by the Cabinet," he said.

Khaled also referred to Dr Mahathir's criticism as an attempt to sabotage national economic development because many investors were shying away from Malaysia.

In BACHOK, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin said that as a man of principles Dr Mahathir should resign from his positions (as advisor) in government bodies because he was clearly criticising the government.

He was commenting on Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid's statement Saturday that Dr Mahathir should relinquish his posts as advisor in the government bodies if he were to continue criticising the government.

Dr Awang Adek, who is Deputy Chairman of the Kelantan Umno Liaison Committee, spoke to reporters after attending a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house in Kampung Teratak Pulai near Bachok.

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