Mar 28, 2008

Tun Mahathir Says People Attempting Frame-up To Silence Him

Tun Mahathir, who has repeatedly accused Abdullah's administration of corruption and nepotism during the past two years, said he knows his detractors believe he "did worse things" when he headed the government between 1981 and 2003.

"I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up," Mahathir wrote in a letter to The Sun newspaper, without identifying the people.

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: Former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad claimed Friday (28 Mar) that people were trying to dig up evidence that he committed crimes during his time in power to stop him from criticizing his embattled successor.

Mahathir was the first public figure to urge Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to resign after the ruling coalition suffered unprecedented losses in March 8 general elections. Several other coalition members, including Mahathir's son, have since echoed the demand.

Mahathir, who has repeatedly accused Abdullah's administration of corruption and nepotism during the past two years, said he knows his detractors believe he "did worse things" when he headed the government between 1981 and 2003.

"I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up," Mahathir wrote in a letter to The Sun newspaper, without identifying the people.

"So far they have not found anything," Mahathir said. "Not only have I not taken anything that was not due to me while I was prime minister, but I have given back to the government and the people everything that I had received as gifts during my tenure of office."

He added that "unless there is a frame-up, I think there should be nothing to pin on me."

An aide to Abdullah declined to immediately comment. The prime minister has repeatedly rejected Mahathir's allegations of impropriety.

In his letter, Mahathir took fresh jabs at his hand-picked successor over a high-profile dispute between Abdullah and the country's constitutional monarch, Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

Last week, Mizan dismissed Abdullah's advice that Idris Jusoh, the former chief minister of oil-rich Terengganu state, should keep the post after the elections. Abdullah conceded defeat Thursday and accepted the king's candidate.

"It should be noted that this kind of thing had never happened during the premiership of the four previous prime ministers. Concerned Malaysians should wonder why," Mahathir said.

Mahathir claimed the ruling coalition had implemented many "totally unnecessary and wasteful" infrastructure projects in Terengganu since 2004, adding there were suspicions that contracts for the projects went to those who had connections to Abdullah's family.

Mahathir's latest comments add to Abdullah's troubles after his National Front coalition lost its two-thirds majority in the recent elections, though it retained power with a simple majority. The coalition also lost control of five state legislatures.

Abdullah announced late Thursday (27 Mar) his party is delaying internal elections for top officers to December, four months later than anticipated. But he insisted he was not running away from rivals who might challenge him for the party presidency.

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