Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad claimed that 14 invitations to him to attend functions nationwide have been revoked thus far on the instructions of the government.
He added that all the invitations were recalled under the orders from Johari Baharom, deputy internal security minister. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is also the internal minister.
The latest revocation came for a Perkida function in Johor on Nov 1.
Mahathir said the police had also asked a non-government organisation in Baling, Kedah to cancel a function on Nov 3. Mahathir was to have been a guest at the function.
“Pak Lah (Abdullah) and his family are afraid to let me speak the truth openly,” said Mahathir in a statement issued on Nov 3.
The statement, in Bahasa Melayu, was released by the former premier to two websites.
“If what I am saying is not true, it is easy to prove me wrong,” he added.
He said that Abdullah and his backers have not addressed the criticisms levelled against them, instead they are angry with him for raising such issues.
“At the same time the mainstream media carry unfounded reports about me just to discredit me. I can’t response, can’t deny even if their reports are untrue,” he added.
“I can’t voice my opinions openly through them now. That is why I have to use the Internet.”
“This is freedom of expression and press freedom under Abdullah. All avenues of criticism are closed shut,” he said.
He said that under his leadership he had allowed people, including former prime ministers Tunku Abdul Rahman and Hussein Onn, to openly criticise him.
“Tunku and Hussein were free to criticise me. No prohibitions. The police did not stop anyone from listening to the criticisms. There were no threats to take any actions against Tunku and Hussein.
Mahathir said Abdullah was worried because the criticisms were justified.
Meanwhile, Abdullah is reported to have told reporters in Pakistan that his will not stop Mahathir from trying to undermine his leadership.
“Let him talk, and say what he wants to say...I think we must listen. We do not know how much more he wants to say. He can go on ... It does not affect my position," Abdullah was quoted sa saying in Reuters.
The two leaders have been at loggerheads since April following the government’s decision to cancel the ‘scenic bridge’ project to replace the Causeway. This was one of Mahathir’s pet projects.
Since then Mahathir’s acerbic criticisms continued with accusations levelled against Abdullah’s economic mismanagement, corruption and nepotism.
tags : tun dr mahathir mohamad malaysia pm abdullah ahmad badawi umno press statement
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