Dec 29, 2009

PM Najib rejects royal commission to probe Tun Mahathir

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dismissed the call to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the claim that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wasted RM100bil during his years in office, saying there was no basis for it.

(Malaysiakini) Prime Minister Najib Razak said there was no need for a royal commission of inquiry to look into allegations hurled at former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the book 'Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times' authored by Barry Wain.

"There is always this call for a royal commission, everything you want royal commission, but (this) is not appropriate to call for a royal commission just because somebody has written a book.

"What is important for us is to look forward to the future. Each prime minister has made a lot of contribution, otherwise we wouldn't be what we are today, Malaysia will not be a successful nation and regarded as a role model if all the PMs in the past had not made their contribution," he said.

On Dec 21, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in his blog had urged Najib to set up a royal commission to probe the allegations contained in the book, which among others had claimed that Mahathir had squandered up to RM100 billion during his 22 years as prime minister.

In an immediate response, Mahathir in his 'Chedet' blog welcomed the call for a royal inquiry and said he would cooperate fully with the commission.

Wain, who is the former managing editor of Asian Wall Street Journal, has estimated that Mahathir had squandered up to RM100 billion in his years as PM.

Dec 26, 2009

Ministry to check whether 'Maverick' is a security threat

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The Home Ministry is still studying the contents of the book authored by Barry Wain titled "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)", before making a decision on its circulation in Malaysia, said a statement from the ministry here today.

It said this was a normal procedure and that Barry Wain’s book was not exempted.

This was to ensure the book would not affect the prevailing peace and stability in the country, the statement said, adding that the ministry had 60 days to make a decision as to whether the book could be sold in Malaysia.

On Monday, the Customs Department refuted a report carried out by a news portal that it was holding 800 copies of the book in Port Klang since a month ago.

In the book, Wain, former managing editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, had claimed that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had squandered up to RM100 billion in his 22 years in power.

However, Dr Mahathir in his blog admitted there had been financial losses under his rule but the amount would not have exceeded RM10 billion and had also welcomed suggestions by his detractors for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be set up to probe the matter.

He had also said that he reserved the right to sue Wain and others who had cast aspersions on him in the matter. — Bernama

Dec 25, 2009

Tun Mahathir dares Barry Wain to prove allegations

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged author of "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" to provide documented proof that he had burnt RM100bil during his tenure as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said he reserved his right to sue author Barry Wain, who is with Singapore think-tank Southeast Asian studies, for libel.

He said the country would have been in deep financial trouble if it had lost such a hefty sum, adding that the government had honoured its financial commitments even during slow economic growth.

Highlighting three instances that cost Malaysia a fortune, Dr Mahathir had stressed in his blog that the quantum of losses could not have exceeded RM10bil.

He attributed the losses to London Metal Exchange ruling that its tin speculators need not honour contract to sell tin as they did not physically have the produce; to Bank Negara’s trading of foreign currencies, and to Bank Bumiputra’s losses in Hong Kong.

“Altogether I don’t think the amount lost added up to RM10bil even,” said Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that during his 22-year tenure as the prime minister, Petronas had paid the government RM126bil.

Whereas during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s five-year tenure, Petronas had paid RM270bil as it enjoyed unprecedented profits due to high oil price.

The former premier also welcomed DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s proposal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a royal commission to ascertain if he had burnt RM100bil on grandiose projects and on corruption.

Dr Mahathir said the commission should comprise foreigners and representatives from Transparency International, and that it should also investigate Abdullah’s regime to ascertain which projects were financed using Petronas funds and the costs involved.

The commission should also investigate the amount of losses due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and Johor Baru-Padang Besar railway projects, he added.

Dr Mahathir said the proposed commission should be given full access to government documents and accounts for the period between 1981 and 2009, adding there should be no cover up.

“Depending upon the result of the commission, I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and for libel for a sum to be disclosed later,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said that Wain would not criticise Singapore leaders as his colleagues who had written such stuff had been found guilty of defamation.

Dec 24, 2009

Tun Mahathir's maverick book withheld by Home Ministry

PETALING JAYA: The book on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" was withheld by the Port Klang branch of the Home Ministrys’ Quran Publication Control and Text Division.

Royal Malaysian Customs Department headquarters confirmed that the book had been withheld but clarified that it was not held by the Customs Department as reported by online media.

“Following investigations, it was found that the book was actually withheld by the Port Klang branch of the Home Ministrys’ Quran Publication Control and Text Division,” the department’s public communications section senior assistant director of customs 1 Zazuli Johan clarified Thursday.

It was also reported that the former premier wanted the book on him, which was written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain to be released, saying that he did not need any protection.

The book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003. The book credits the former premier with Malaysia’s economic growth but it also blames him for losses of RM100bil during his tenure.

On Wednesday, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Dr Mahathir over allegations in the book.

Dr Mahathir in his blog welcomed the suggestion saying that the commission should not be confined to one Prime Minister alone but should also look into Tun Abdullah Badawi’s years in power.

Malaysia Transparency International president Datuk Paul Low also called for the release of the book saying that it was a matter of public interest.

“Why should it be withheld? It can always be made available across the border. It doesn’t make sense. When you withhold something, it is because it is harmful the society especially children, but in this case it’s an issue of information or research by somebody.

“We should defend it with the truth. We need to be much more open about it,” he Thursday said when commenting on the book which was held by the authorities.

Low said he believed that the Malaysian society was matured enough to be able to discern what was correct information and make proper assessment.

He added that even Dr Mahathir called for its release and had no reservation about it being distributed.

In a media statement issued by the Aliran executive committee recently, Malaysians should not be denied the right to have access to material that critically commented on Malaysia’s recent history and of its past leaders from a wide range of perspectives.

It said that Malaysians’ right to make their own judgement and assessment of things past and present must be respected and honoured in a country that claimed to be very democratic.

“Otherwise, we shall be exposed as a sham democracy,” it said adding that it called on Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to confirm if the book has indeed been held up, confiscated or banned.

Dec 23, 2009

Tun Mahathir wants ‘Malaysian Maverick’ book to released

Tun Mahathir wants the new book on him which is written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" to be released. The book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003. In the book, Tun Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister.

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants the book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad In Turbulent Times to be released to bookstores following online reports that they have been held by the Customs Department.

The former prime minister, who said he did not need any “protection”, said: “If the Government is withholding the book, I would request that the book be released forthwith.”

The book, written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, has been described as the first independent and full-length study of Dr Mahathir. Launched on Dec 4, it credits Dr Mahathir with Malaysia’s economic growth during his tenure as prime minister.

However, the author also blames the former premier for losses of RM100bil during his 22 years in power.

On Wednesday, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Dr Mahathir over allegations from the book.

Dr Mahathir in his blog yesterday welcomed the suggestion.

He said the commission should not be confined to one prime minister alone but should also look into Tun Abdullah Badawi’s years in charge.

Dec 22, 2009

Tun Mahathir agrees to probe on whether he ‘burned’ RM100b

A new book on former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has hit the bookshelves. Written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003.In the book, Dr Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister. He also said that he "reserved the right" to sue author Barry Wain, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang and online news daily Malaysiakini for defamation.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — A combative Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he welcomed Lim Kit Siang’s call for the government to set up a royal commission to probe whether he “burned” RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption.

The former prime minister added, however, that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration should also ask the same commission to investigate Tun Abdullah Badawi.

“I will cooperate fully with the commission.

“Depending upon the results of the commission I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and for libel for a sum to be disclosed later,” he wrote on his popular blog today.

Dr Mahathir was referring to the recent publication of the book, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)", written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain.

In the book, Dr Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister. published excerpts from the book.

Yesterday, the DAP’s Lim urged the Najib government to investigate the allegations.

“I welcome Lim Kit Siang’s proposal for Najib to set up a royal commission on whether I burned RM100 billion...during my 22-year reign,” said Dr Mahathir.

Such a commission, he said, should not be made up of government nominees, but should instead have as members “impeccable people including foreigners and members of Transparency International.”

He said the probe’s terms of reference should also include how RM270 billion of Petronas money, paid during Abdullah’s five-year term, was spent.

“It should include how much money was lost due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and the Johore Baru to Padang Besar railway.”

He cited other projects during the Abdullah era which he said should be investigated.

They include the cost over-runs in the construction of the Bakun Hydroelectric project, and also the financing of the second Penang Bridge and the procedure followed when giving out the contract.

“I also agree with Lim Kit Siang that the investigation would reflect Najib’s commitment to ‘combating corruption’.

“In order that the enquiry by the commission is successful, the government must give an undertaking to give full access to the commission to all the documents and accounts of the government over the period 1981-2009. There should be no cover-up of any kind.”

He also suggested that Wain, the writer of the book that has sparked the controversy, should provide “documentary proof of any sum that he alleged I had burned.”

Dr Mahathir also urged the government not to ban the book for distribution in Malaysia. “I am not in need of protection,” he added.

Dec 19, 2009

Mahathir book ‘stuck at Customs’

The Customs Department have been holding up delivery of 800 copies of an authoritative new biography of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for the past three weeks in Port Klang. The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain, is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — The Malaysian Customs Department has been holding up delivery of 800 copies of a new biography of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for three weeks, a news analysis website says.

The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), is written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain.

The 363-page book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.

Foreign-published books air-freighted into Malaysia often go through Customs unchecked, or with only a cursory check at the airport, the Asia Sentinel website reported two days ago

But books sent by ship or by land from Singapore are often stopped for inspection, which can mean Customs officers spending weeks reading them, it added.

“The book will probably turn up on bookshelves eventually,” one Malaysian source told the Asia Sentinel.

“There are lots of books on the shelves that are critical of Dr Mahathir. It might be some of his allies that stopped it. But everybody knows about it.”

Wain, 65, credits Dr Mahathir with engineering Malaysia’s economic growth. But with fast-paced growth came problems such as huge investment losses.

It was also under his leadership that the ruling Umno evolved from a political party to one with huge stakes in business.

Dr Mahathir has yet to comment on the book.

The Customs Department could not be contacted yesterday because of a public holiday in the country. — The Straits Times

Dec 16, 2009

Tun Mahathir blasts OIC for failing to unite Muslims

The former Prime Minster, Tun Mahathir has criticized the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has lambasted the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

“It often serves to emphasise divisions within the Muslim world. The disagreements between member countries are so obvious as to expose their disunity,” he claimed on Tuesday.

Dr Mahathir, who was the prime minister when Malaysia chaired the OIC in 2003, said the problem was that it was an organisation of governments of countries whose interests took precedence over the religion.

“As an organisation of governments, the OIC is unable to consider anything purely on the basis of religious injunctions or the interest of religion.

“Even the injunction of Islam that all Muslims are brothers could not override certain other national priorities,” he said in his keynote address at the Second International Muslim’s Unity conference.

The OIC, he added, worked on a basis of consensus which was not conducive to organisational decision making.

He suggested setting up a chain of Muslim non-governmental organisations in Muslim communities and countries to restore the brotherhood and unity of Muslims regardless of sects or differences.

Using such NGOs as the vehicle for Muslim unity, he said, should be focused on the promotion of Muslim brotherhood, reducing misunderstandings or suspicions, acquiring knowledge and skills, and pushing for better education systems, among others.

Muslim NGOs, he added, must also launch a concerted campaign to stop the “revenge mentality” which leads to blind retaliation.

“Muslims are very angry. And in anger, they lash out at everyone, including other Muslims. They blow themselves up in revenge, killing at random, not so much their enemies as they do their own people.

“After they have lost their lives, what have they gained? Basically nothing that will stop their enemies from continuing to oppress and kill them,” he said.

Muslims, Dr Mahathir said, must work out plans and strategies with the objective of achieving success in their struggles.

“One should be prepared to accept partial unity if total unity cannot be achieved as much can still be done,” he said.

“Today, Muslims are deeply divided into many different sects which often are violently pitted against each other.

“Lethal suicide bombers of different sects direct their attacks against each other, killing hundreds of Muslims each time. They may believe they will become martyrs and go to heaven but can we really believe they will when they go against the injunctions of the Quran that Muslims must not kill Muslims?

“True practising Muslims must stop the fighting, reduce the divisions and restore brotherhood and unity,” he said.

Dec 15, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Don't let us be re-colonised

The Government has ignored the language of knowledge and success by snubbing English as a teaching medium for Mathematics and Science subjects in schools, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The former Prime Minister said to acquire knowledge, one must have a good command of English, which he described as a universal language.

(Bernama) Malaysians have an extremely important role of mastering English to acquire knowledge at a faster pace to ensure there is no "re-colonisation" of the country, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Without a good command of English, the former prime minister noted, the people would not acquire knowledge quickly.

He said this would, in turn, open doors to those knowledgeable to dominate and influence them, either directly or indirectly.

"English is the language of the Knowledge Age. Countries which do not master English will not only be left behind but risk being colonised, either directly or indirectly.

"Without knowledge, countries will be oppressed and even invaded," Dr Mahathir told reporters after delivering his keynote address entitled, "The Leadership and Policy Components for the Knowledge Society: A Proposed Best Practice for Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries" at the 17th Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) conference.

The conference was opened by the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at a hotel near here.

The four-day conference which began today, is jointly organised by IAS, Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) and International Islamic Academy of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.

Dr Mahathir said that only by mastering English, could the people in this country acquire knowledge at a faster pace so as not to be left behind by development.

He said, the people would not lose their identity by seeking knowledge in English.

"English is not only for English people but (it is) a universal language. I am not an Englishman but I speak English," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the current leadership was "ignoring success" by abolishing the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) and reverting to Bahasa Malaysia.

"I don't think the government understands the importance of English as a language of knowledge when they decided to switch from English to Malay (in teaching Science and Mathematics)," he said.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government had decided to reverse the PPSMI policy and revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools, and Chinese and Tamil in vernacular schools from 2012.

The PPSMI policy was implemented in phases, beginning with Year One, Form One and Lower Six students in 2003, under Dr Mahathir's administration.

Earlier, when delivering his keynote address, Dr Mahathir said knowledge was expanding rapidly, especially in science, and books and writings on this subject were in English.

He said that possibilities were there to override past beliefs in the field of science, which could not be done in geography and history.

"Knowledge in science is not static, unlike geography and history where facts are structured and limited.

"In science, we can always go back and question the scientific principles and decide whether they are right or not," he said, adding new discoveries were coming out in torrents in English.

Dec 14, 2009

Bumi varsity quota not racist, says Tun Mahathir

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday the the Bumiputera university quota should not be considered as racist act as it is opportunities given to Bumiputeras to enter public universities and to ensure that Bumiputeras were not left behind in mainstream education.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday the opportunities given to Bumiputeras to enter public universities should not be disputed as a racist act that favours one race at the expense of the others.

The former prime minister said the move was to ensure that Bumiputeras were not left behind in mainstream education as this could have negative repercussions.

He said at private institutions of higher learning, Bumiputera enrolment was very low, only about 10 per cent, while the rest was made up of students from other races.

This was because many Bumiputeras could not afford the fees.

"If we conduct a census of the number of students in private universities, there are more non-Bumiputera students. That's why we give attention and more places to Bumiputeras," he said in his keynote address, "UUM 25 Years Expectation vs Reality", at the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Alumni Convention 2009 here.

"So, we should not feel guilty because we reserved places for Bumiputeras. We have a right to attain a position that is on par in this country."

Dr Mahathir said the affirmative action policy of bringing Bumiputeras into the mainstream of development in the country was not something extreme because although they made up about 60 per cent of the population, the quota was only 30 per cent.

He added that the extra attention and opportunities given to Bumiputeras did not mean the other races were sidelined.

He said it was important for Bumiputeras to have knowledge to run a business because many of them did not use the money as capital or to invest but to shop.

"We must change the Bumiputera's mindset. The money will bring returns when invested and this can enhance their wealth. Normally, they will spend when they have money.

"And very often, it is more than the money available and this causes problems." -- Bernama.

Dec 9, 2009

Nazri : Tun Mahathir is the "father of all racism"

Minister in the Prime Minister Department’s Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz attacked Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad again and called the former Umno president the “father of all racism” as the row between the two men over the controversial National Civics Bureau (BTN) continued. Nazri criticised the former prime minister for being a hypocrite and said: "Who does Mahathir think he is?”

(Malaysiakini) Prior to his retirement in 2003, the former premier, who ruled the nation for more than two decades, was heralded as the 'Father of Modernisation'.

Now he has been conferred with a new title by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

According to him, the 84-year-old medical doctor turned politician is the 'father of all racism'.

Nazri today continued with his verbal tirade against the former Umno president over the controversy surrounding the National Civics Bureau (BTN) programme.

While the minister wanted a revamp of the curriculum, Mahathir defended it, leading Nazri to accuse him of doublespeak and racism.

Yesterday, Mahathir retaliated by challenging Nazri to resign from Umno, which the former president described as a racist organisation.

Dissatisfied, Nazri fired a fresh round of attacks in the Parliament lobby this afternoon.

"He says I'm in a racist party so he confirms what I said about him. If he says I'm in a racist party, then he's the father of all racism... he was president of Umno for 22 years.

"As ex-prime minister, he should give better suggestions. I feel sorry for him but I will continue (hitting out). Please do not think (I'm) being disrespectful but if he's free to comment about us, then he must accept the fact that he is open to criticism also," he said.

'I learnt the craft from him'

Reiterating that he meant no disrespect, Nazri said Mahathir's supporters must understand that it is about democracy and free speech.

On a sarcastic note, the minister pointed out that he is merely employing the skills he had learnt from the former premier.

"In 1969, when he criticised Tunku Abdul Rahman, (was) that not disrespectful? He taught me (the art). If he does it, it is ok, but if we do it then it is disrespectful? He is my teacher," he said.

Nazri (left) said he will also not give Mahathir the "pleasure" of seeing him resign from Umno.

"I'm not stupid to fall into his trap," the minister said, adding that he was puzzled as to why Mahathir disliked him when it was the latter who appointed him.

"I didn't force him, I didn't put a gun to his head. He knows I'm a good minister and I have been a minister for three terms. Each time a new prime minister takes over, there are rumours that I will be dropped. I have been a minister for 10 years. I only serve the rakyat," he added.

'The public must know'

On Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's statement that labelling Mahathir a racist was extreme, Nazri said he was entitled to his opinion.

"That is his (Muhyiddin's) view but he is in Japan and the issue is happening here," he said.

Muhyiddin, who is on a special trade and investment mission to Japan, had cautioned Barisan Nasional leaders against locking horns with each other in the open.

Furthermore, Nazri said with modern technology there was no way to conceal information from the public.

"Even if you fart, people will know. So what is wrong in fighting in the open? The public has the right to know views of both sides so why must you hide? If you are faint-hearted, then don't come into politics.

"I'm not faint-hearted. I take up any fight. If I'm right, I'm right but if I'm wrong, I will say sorry. But in this case, I'm right," he asserted.

Nazri said leaders who supported the current BTN curriculum should stop being in denial and support a revamp that will reflect the '1Malaysia' concept.

"We are not katak di bawah tempurung, we are katak bawah glass (we are not frogs under coconut shells but frogs under a glass). We can see what is happening and yet we still want to deny it," he said.

"The old BTN did not involve (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak), now we have 1Malaysia so obviously the curriculum should reflect that," he added.

Tun Mahathir challenges Nazri to quit ‘racist’ Umno

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hit back at Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for calling him a racist and urged the minister to instead quit Umno because it was indeed a racist party. The former premier and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department have been at loggerheads over the need to revamp the National Civics Bureau (BTN), which critics charge with cultivating racism instead of its original purpose of nation building

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to resign from the 'racist party' Umno.

The former prime minister said Nazri "belongs to a party that is only meant for the Malays and no one else can join in."

“He is a member of a racist party and he is anti-racist so he should just resign from Umno,” Dr Mahathir said after giving a keynote address at a seminar on Malaysia-Indonesia economic cooperation.

Dr Mahathir was responding to Nazri's comment that he (Dr Mahathir) 'is a racist for defending the National Civics Bureau (NCB training modules.'

"(He) must be right if he said so," said Dr Mahathir.

“I must be a racist if Nazri says I am racist. Don’t ever say that I am not. He knows everything,” he added.

Dr Mahathir had previously said criticisms against the NCB modules were exaggerated.

The course, he said, should be retained as it taught valuable history lessons and instilled good values such as discipline and integrity. Nazri however reiterated his stance yesterday that the NCB should be revamped as patriotism was for all Malaysians regardless of race. He said the syllabus should not focus on patriotism for one community alone.

Nazri calls Tun Mahathir a racist for defending BTN

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has described Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a racist for saying that there was no need to revamp the current National Civics Bureau (BTN) training modules.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has called Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “bloody racist” for defending the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses, and reasserted the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme.

Nazri pointed out to reporters in Parliament today that patriotism was not meant only for the Malays but for all Malaysians.

“You must be a Malaysian whether you’re a minister or not. You must walk your talk. Don’t just because when you were PM, you wanted everyone to support you, you’re Malaysian and the moment you’re no longer PM, that’s it, only talk about the Malays so I cannot accept his comment. When you read his blog it is bloody racist.

“I strongly feel the BTN courses must be in line with the 1 Malaysia slogan by the PM,” he said.

Dr Mahathir had said yesterday that there was no need to revamp BTN’s training modules in the current form and that it was suitable for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians.

Nazri also slammed Umno’s Utusan Malaysia newspaper today, saying its “denial syndrome is making me laugh.” The minister in the prime minister’s department repeated his stand that “everybody knows what the BTN is,” so there was nothing to hide.

“I just want them to know, they should not go on a denial syndrome because their syllabus is known to everybody. Don’t think that people outside do not know about the syllabus based on patriotism for Malays. I just want to remind them that among those in the opposition, Hasan Ali was a former deputy director of BTN and Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul was a BTN former director and Anwar Ibrahim’s father in law was involved with the BTN.

“They all know what the syllabus is all about so who are we to say that it did not happen? You want to lie? You make people laugh. I mean there are people who attended the courses who came out very angry. There were many instances of the use of words like Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy). It is ridiculous so I want them to tell me where did I go wrong in supporting the revamping of the BTN syllabus. Tell me where I went wrong?” he asked.

Nazri stressed that BTN was funded by public money and that the funds should be spent properly for the betterment of all communities.

“The BTN’s allocation is mentioned in the PM’s department’s budget. So it’s public money. So if it’s public money then we need to ensure that it is spent properly, not to have courses only to concentrate on one community in the country.

“You talk about patriotism, love for the country. Patriotism is for all Malaysians regardless of race. Therefore, the money spent on BTN to have courses must reflect the 1Malaysia slogan by the PM. It should not only be to raise patriotism among the Malays. Malaysia is for all races so I disagree with any syllabus which only concentrates on patriotism just on one community, I disagree. If they have a problem with that, I want to know what is their problem,” he said.

Nazri questioned if Utusan Malaysia, which has been at the forefront of defending BTN courses, believes that Malaysia belongs only to the Malay community.

“Do they want to say that Malaysia belongs only to the Malays and the government is only a Malay government? Should only the Malays be given the spirit of patriotism? Other races are not patriotic about their country? So I want them to point out to me where is it that I’ve gone wrong If I disagree with the past syllabus,” he added.

Nazri also denied the claim made by Utusan that it was only him who wanted BTN to be revamped and not the Cabinet.

“The moment PM took over, when he introduced the 1 Malaysia slogan. It was soon after that because courses run by BTN using public funds must be used properly and it amounts to millions so if you want to talk about patriotism, patriotism for all, not just the Malays, for all Malaysians. It’s not because of the Selangor state government that we changed the syllabus so it’s long before that,” he said.

Nazri also questioned Utusan for deceiving Malaysians on BTN.

“You tell me, can I lie? I can’t. They must use their head lah. If they want to deny and all that. If the other side they do not know, it’s different but all these people were involved with BTN before. They were facilitators and directors so they know what’s going on.

“Come on lah, please, this is not 1961 or the 1970s. Information is freely available. I want them to get out of the denial syndrome, admit it and that’s in line with the PM’s slogan so why shouldn’t we change?” he asked.

The PR-led Selangor government recently imposed a ban on its civil servants and students within its state-run educational institutions from attending BTN courses, while Penang — another PR- governed state — is said to be considering similar action.

But the hawks in Umno, through Malay-based dailies like Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, have moved to defend BTN and attacked its critics as “traitors” who are trying to politicise the issue.

Utusan yesterday urged the government not to “bow down” to the opposition on BTN and said that it was Nazri who wanted the programme to be revamped even though the move was decided by the Cabinet.

Tun Mahathir : Keep the BTN Course

There is no need to revamp National Civics Bureau (BTN) training modules as in the current form, they were fine for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The former prime minister was also of the opinion that the BTN curriculum had helped foster unity as the courses conducted by the agency were attended by Malaysians of all races.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels that that the course curriculum of the National Civics Bureau’s (Biro Tatanegara) should be be retained.

The former prime minister said having delivered lectures at BTN several times, including speaking on the country’s history, he found the course to be appropriate.

He said the BTN served its purpose in explaining to government officers the importance of being committed to their service for the good of the nation.

While people sometimes misunderstood the values taught under BTN to create a progressive culture, Dr Mahathir said he did not see the course's module as being negative.

Speaking after opening the World AIDS Day 2009 commemoration event at the Wangsa Walk Mall yesteday, Dr Mahathir said: “However, deciding on whether the BTN should be revamped or not is the government’s responsibility.”

He said it was true that the BTN modules touched on the country’s history, including about the origins of the Malays, Chinese and Indians, adding that there was nothing wrong with that.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on the a recent statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that the BTN would be reviewed to mirror the 1Malaysia concept.

The relevance of BTN had been hotly debated following the Selangor government’s decision to bar its civil servants and students of state-owned institutions of higher learning from attending the course. Selangor claimed that it was a Barisan Nasional (BN) effort to indoctrinate the people.

“There is nothing negative about BTN as the module is appropriate to instill awareness about nationalism,” said Dr Mahathir.

Commenting on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for an independent observer from Australia to oversee Malaysia’s 13th general elections, Dr Mahathir said: “That is his (Anwar’s) style. He prefers to trust the white people and not the Malays.”

To a question on the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), Dr Mahathir said a study on the matter should be done first, with feedback from all stakeholders. He said it was important that the GST did not add burden to the people.

In his keynote address at the function yesterday, Dr Mahathir called on non-governmental organisations and the private sector to assist the government in educating the public on avoiding diseases such as AIDs.

He said ignorance was the main reason for the spread of AIDs, adding that with early education from young, the rise in rise spread of such diseases could be curbed.

Oct 13, 2009

Tun Mahathir suggests Najib help MCA resolve leadership crisis

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels that both MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and his former deputy Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek must take the cue from the outcome of the extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on Saturday and resign. He also suggested that PM Datuk Seri Najib to help MCA to resolve the current crisis.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 12 – Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today suggested that Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak help the MCA resolve its leadership crisis.

However, the former BN chairman said this should be done behind the scene so as not to touch the sensitivities of any quarter.

“I must confess that when I was BN chairman I did interfere but quietly behind the scene, not openly, as some people may be sensitive. As BN chairmen we can intervene in component parties,” he told reporters here.

Dr Mahathir, who was met at a ceremony to launch a book on ‘The Speeches of Umno Presidents’, was asked to comment on whether BN should intervene in the MCA leadership crisis.

Asked if MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat should step down following the adoption of the no-confidence resolution against him at the party’s extraordinary general meeting on Oct 10, Dr Mahathir said the step would be apt.

“I cite (former Umno president, the late) Datuk Onn Jaafar (who resigned after his views were no longer accepted by Umno), if we want to have a lesson from that, we can.

“But it is not just Datuk Ong Tee Keat alone, another person also did not get this (support),” he said.

Earlier when speaking at the event, Dr Mahathir characterised the action taken by Onn as that of a wise man and was among Onn’s biggest contribution to Umno.

“He should have been the first prime minister but his suggestion could not be accepted by Umno so he willingly quit. This was Datuk Onn’s biggest contribution.

“When we are no longer popular or our opinions are no longer accepted we should not create problems, but step down honourably,” he said in his speech.

The event was officiated by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and also attended by relatives of past Umno presidents. – Bernama

Sep 19, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Don't field Isa for Bagan Pinang

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad should not be nominated as candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election as he has been found guilty of political corruption.

PUTRAJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad should not be nominated as candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election.

He said Umno's image would be affected because it would be regarded as not being serious in fighting money politics if it chose those who had been found guilty of political corruption.

"Isa has already been found guilty. If Umno fields him, it means that Umno is not serious about such cases.

"Even if he can win there, (we) have to consider what the whole of Malaysia thinks of Umno," he said in an interview yesterday.

He was asked to comment on speculation that Isa, the Teluk Kemang Umno division head, was in the candidate list for the Bagan Pinang by-election.

Dr Mahathir said that although the Teluk Kemang Umno division wanted Isa to contest, the people would view him as representing Umno nationwide and reflecting Umno's position.

"One can win to become Umno president but it does not mean that he can win elections," he said.

Isa was suspended for three years from June 24, 2005, for money politics in the 2004 Umno elections.

He was originally suspended for six years or two terms but this was reduced after he appealed.

On the MCA crisis, Dr Mahathir said it could be resolved if the party leaders placed the interests of the party above self.

"A leader will not do anything to destroy the party. If you know that you are no longer qualified, for whatever reason, you stop.

"Don't cling on to the post."

He said leaders should realise that it they owed their status to the party.

The MCA crisis escalated following the sacking of deputy president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek for his sex scandal in 2007, which was said to have tarnished the party's image.

The party will hold an extraordinary general meeting on Oct 11 to resolve its leadership dispute

Sep 18, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Samy Vellu has failed, a liability to BN

Responding to Tun Mahathir's comment, Samy Vellu describes Tun Mahathir's comments as akin to "telling a young wife that she is beautiful and an asset, but when she becomes old, she is branded a liability"

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 18 — MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu will become a liability to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the next general election because his leadership has failed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The former prime minister said he was worried that the people’s support for the BN would erode and the coalition would be the victim because Samy Vellu was still leading the MIC.

Samy Vellu must step down as party president because he must take responsibility for the party’s failure in the last general election and for his own loss, Dr Mahathir said in an interview with Bernama yesterday.

"If we look at other countries, whenever a leader fails, he resigns. In Japan he commits harakiri. We're not asking him (Samy Vellu) to commit harakiri.

"You (Samy Vellu) have failed to lead the MIC until you yourself lost," he said.

Citing the example of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who resigned after his poor performance, Dr Mahathir said: "Samy Vellu performed worse than Pak Lah (Abdullah) but he did not want to relinquish the post.

"He should have resigned before things got to this stage."

He said he had a right to criticise anyone for the sake of the BN, adding: "I've criticised Pak Lah; who's Samy Vellu that I cannot criticise?"

Dr Mahathir's criticism of Samy Vellu before the MIC elections last week was seen as an attempt to interfere in MIC affairs and had raised the ire of a delegate who suggested that a garland of slippers be placed on his portrait.

Dr Mahathir said leaders must realise that the post they held was not for life.

"This is not directed at Samy Vellu alone because there are others who are like him," he added.

He said he had wanted to resign in 1998 but, because of the economy and the Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issue, had to continue leading the nation until 2003.

"I resigned not when people criticised me. I resigned because I had stayed too long.

"Malaysian leaders still do not understand that when they fail they should resign of their own volition, no need for others to tell them. When you fail, your party fails. You are responsible," he said.

Asked what the BN could do in view of its principle of not interfering in the affairs of component parties, he said that when the matter became a problem for the BN, the coalition would become the victim if it did not intervene.

He said BN leaders must admonish Samy Vellu because as BN leaders they were responsible not only for the performance of their own parties but also that of the BN as a whole.

"If I know that a person will cause the BN to lose, that is already a BN problem, no longer an MIC problem. We cannot keep saying don't interfere. This is a BN affair. Because of him, the BN lost.

"Previously there was no Hindraf. Now there are scores (of pressure groups from the Indian community.) It's him that the people don't want but he still wants to be president," he added

He said leaders who resorted to money, pressure, abuse of power and threats could remain as party presidents but would not win elections.

On Samy Vellu's chosen leaders winning the party elections last week, Dr Mahathir said they could win party elections but would lose in general elections because the people would not support them.

He also criticised Samy Vellu for not playing a role to stop the building of temples without approval despite having promised to do so.

He said Samy Vellu became popular because he (Dr Mahathir) had helped him.

"He wanted to build a university, I persuaded the government to give a RM50 million allocation and I've helped in many more of his projects," he said.

Reflecting on his past duties as prime minister, Dr Mahathir said he had to persuade the Malays to allow the BN to place MIC candidates in Malay-majority areas because no constituency in the country had an Indian majority.

"Besides that, I also strove to get the MIC candidates supported by the Malays. Without support from Umno members and the other Malays, the MIC could not win. So that's my service to the MIC.

"But when the MIC does something that will cause it not to be supported by the Indians, Chinese and Malays, I have to criticise," he said.

Sep 17, 2009

Tun Mahathir says quota change pointless if UMNO stays corrupt

Former UMNO president Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes that the decision to abolish the quota system will put an end to party presidents abusing their power. "I am praying that the abuse of power by the president will be eliminated and his challenger will be able to contest (for the post).
"But until now, there is no decision on how a candidate is to be nominated," added Mahathir who helmed the party and nation for 22 years

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — The man who introduced the quota system for Umno elections, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is ironically backing its abolition but maintained today that it would mean nothing if the party’s core remains corrupt.

Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced last Friday the abolition of the quota system which previously required candidates contesting for top posts to get the backing of at least 60 of the 192 divisions nationwide.

The move was supposedly aimed at preventing vote buying but Dr Mahathir, in his latest blog posting, appeared somewhat sceptical that it had made any difference to the growing culture of money politics in the party.

Dr Mahathir said that the quota system had failed after it was found that a party president could abuse it to ensure he would be the only one nominated for the post.

He recounted that in 1986, his challenger for the party’s top post, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, had garnered nearly 50 per cent of votes from the delegates even though he had only received a meagre 20 per cent of nominations from the 192 divisions nationwide.

That paved way for a power tussle in the party, which was subsequently declared illegal by the courts. Umno Baru or New Umno was later established but not without heavy cost.

The party was split with Razaleigh and his followers forming Semangat 46.

Following this, the 10 votes bonus system was introduced for any nomination secured by a candidate contesting for top posts but this was also abused, said Dr Mahathir.

“When Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim challenged the late Tun Ghaffar Baba for the deputy presidency, for some reason the former had managed to garner enough nominations so that with just the bonus votes he defeated the latter.

“Clearly, there was something wrong with this bonus votes system as well,” he said.

It was due to this that the party supreme council decided to use the quota system, he said.

But Dr Mahathir said it was clear the quota system had also failed to eradicate money politics in Umno.

“Actually, there is no flawless system. Whether or not the system works depends on those practising it. When the practitioner is easily bribed at all levels, whatever system used won’t produce the desired effect,” he said.

Sep 12, 2009

Tun Mahathir : MIC is finished if Samy refuses to go

Like an electric shock, a great shudder is coursing through the MIC after former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad waded into the party election campaign by attacking his one-time supporter and urging delegates to elect good, clean leaders like challenger Datuk S. Subramaniam. Mahathir said delegates should remove Samy Vellu, who was “elected” unopposed for an 11th term as president in March.

Aug 30, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Stay patriotic

The former prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Mahathir says all Malaysians should stay patriotic even though the current wide spread of the AH1N1 flu virus.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians should not let the A(H1N1) virus stop them from celebrating the National Day, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“This year’s celebration is not as merry as previous years because of the A(H1N1) flu. There are no big parades at Dataran Merdeka or Putrajaya as usual.

“But all this should not stop us from feeling proud and patriotic towards our country,” he said in his latest blog posting.

Dr Mahathir said he would not be able to attend this year’s National Day celebrations at Dataran Parli-men but would continue to pray for the country’s stability and safety.

“As an ordinary citizen, I will focus my attention on the country’s political, economic and social development and will try to contribute to these areas as much as I can.

“I am confident that ordinary citizens will continue to do the same because they love the country and want to see it progress,” he added.

Dr Mahathir wished all Malaysians a happy 52nd Merdeka and a blessed Ramadan to all Muslims.

Meanwhile, Penang will be holding its state-level National Day celebrations, without the parade, outside the Seberang Prai Municipal Council headquarters in Bandar Perda, Central Seberang Prai at 9am tomorrow.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that instead of the usual four-hour parade, the event would be shorter this year in view of the Influenza A(H1N1) pandemic.

“We had earlier announced that the parade would be cancelled. But the celebrations will still go on, only it will be a very short one,” he said after flagging off the Anglican Churches Transcom Merdeka Rally 2009 in St Marks Church Butterworth here yesterday.

Although the state government is not organising a National Day countdown, several private establishments are going ahead with the countdown to the celebrations.

The Queensbay Mall on Penang Island will hold a concert and fireworks display while a National Day countdown gathering will be held at Auto City in Juru on the mainland from 6pm today. A 200-inch Sky-TV, the first of its kind in the country, will be launched by Penang State Tourism Development, Culture, Arts, and Heritage Committee chairman Law Heng Kiang.

Aug 21, 2009

Tun Mahathir likens Rohaizat candidacy to BN self-sabotage

Former Umno president Dr Mahathir Mohamad today contributed to the mounting pressure on the party's candidate for the Permatang Pasir by-election Rohaizat Othman. Asked what he thought about the matter, the 83-year-old statesman zeroed in on Rohaizat's alleged second wife. "I was told he is accused of having two wives, but he said 'No'. Then someone showed the picture (of the woman). I don't know if such a person is qualified to be come an elected representative or not.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed took a dig today at Barisan National’s (BN) choice of candidate for the Permatang Pasir by-election by pointing out that he was not sure if Rohaizat Othman — a disbarred lawyer — was qualified to run for office.

The former prime minister said that he was also informed Rohaizat was accused of having two wives.

“If you give someone a good reason to sabotage you, then it will be easy to be sabotaged and it will be your fault,” quipped Dr. Mahathir.

Umno has come under fire recently since its chosen candidate Rohaizat Othman was discovered to have been found guilty of misconduct by the Bar Council after failing to return RM161,000 belonging to the Penang Rubber Smallholders Cooperation.

The former lawyer has been on the defensive ever since the discovery was made public, blaming Pakatan Rakyat for attempting to discredit him personally.

However, Rohaizat has yet to respond to allegations made by his former partner Yusri Ishak against him.

Umno maintains that Pakatan Rakyat is trying to “assassinate” the character of their chosen candidate.

Rohaizat is facing Penang PAS state commissioner Mohd. Salleh Man in a straight fight for the state seat in the by-election on August 25.

Aug 10, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Pakatan sure to lose Selangor

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is very sure that the current Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government will fall back to the hands of BN.

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 - Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is already ringing the death knell for the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government.

He said the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) partners' many ideological differences which often lead to open disputes is evidence that the opposition alliance is only destined to split.

Dr Mahathir also said that PR component parties like the DAP and PAS are merely errand boys to realise the agenda of PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim whom he said has managed so far to deceive and conceal his true intentions from the two.

“How can they work together when they have so many opposing ideas, only Anwar has succeeded in deceiving the two parties to push his own agenda ... DAP and PAS are being used by him,” he told a press conference here today.

The statement was made in reference to the open squabbling in Selangor involving top leaders from PAS and DAP over the beer sales issue. Selangor PAS chief and executive councillor (exco) Datuk Hassan Ali blasted DAP exco Ronnie Liu's interference in the matter and demanded his resignation.

The PR leadership's seemingly castrated attempts to discipline their ranks and contain their quarrels have provided their rivals Umno with the opportunity to drive a wedge between them.

Selangor Umno chief and party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak's recent declaration that he wanted to regain control over the state, the richest in Malaysia, has added to the speculation of an Umno-BN conspiracy for a takeover.

Mahathir, who is becoming more and more critical of Najib's rule after practising “abstinence” in the past, was quick to point out that PR's internal problems won't make it easier for the current Umno chief to win Selangor again.

He said only if BN can prove to be a "viable alternative" to PR can the former realistically expect to win back the state.

“The opposition won (in Selangor) not because people like them, they won because people are fed up with the previous leadership of the BN government. They are actually BN supporters who are dissatisfied with the way they were running things,” he said.

“If BN can provide itself as an alternative for PR, BN can win (back Selangor),” added the former premier.

But judging from the strong criticism Mahathir has thrown against the Najib administration, it is unlikely that he believes the ruling coalition he once led is capable – in its present form - of becoming an alternative to PR

Aug 9, 2009

Tun Mahathir : No need to censor political content on Internet

There is no need to censor political content on the Internet, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He said during his tenure as prime minister, he did not censure information from the Internet and hoped the present Government would keep the status quo.

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday the Internet should not be censored in any way, and it was wrong to do so although some things needed to be disciplined.

"If you are not instigating violence and things like that, I think the Internet should not be censored in any way," he said after his speech at the Third Annual Malaysian Student Leaders Summit here.

He said he had given the undertaking that the government would not censor the Internet when it started the Multimedia Super Corridor years ago.

"That was an undertaking given by me during my time. I don't know whether that will commit the present government."

On Friday, Information Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim said the government was looking to put up an Internet filter to stop access to undesirable websites.

However, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government had no intention of monitoring and censoring the flow of information through the Internet as the move would not only be ineffective but would also cause public dissatisfaction.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Selangor government's decision yesterday for self-regulation on the sale of alcohol, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia was a multiracial country and people should not curb the other races from doing the things permitted by their race and religion.

"We also should not try to impose one's religious views or values on other religions."

Aug 3, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Street demonstrations not best option

Street demonstrations are not part of Malaysian culture, but something that was introduced by PKR leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, said former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUANTAN: Street demonstrations are not part of the Malaysian culture and there are other ways to champion a cause, according to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said yesterday that Parti Keadilan Keadilan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had "introduced" the culture as a "weapon" to protest issues.

There were other options, he said, such as calling for an in-depth review of the Internal Security Act. Taking the protest to the streets was not the best way to pressure the government to review the act.

Dr Mahathir also said any review of the ISA must take into account the prevailing situation.

"All laws should be reviewed from time to time to ensure they are suited to the times. Not all laws can become obsolete," he told reporters after a session of "A moment with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad" here, organised by Mubarak, the association for former elected representatives.

Dr Mahathir was accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, at the function. Also present was Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's statement on Saturday that the government was gathering feedback on the ISA and was preparing to review it.

On the Barisan Nasional's chances in the upcoming Permatang Pasir by-election, the former prime minister said BN could win if it succeeded in regaining the people's support.

"BN's performance in the Manik Urai by-election was good. BN has a chance."

Jul 23, 2009

Tun Mahathir says the Chinese are the real masters of the country

In Tun Mahathir's recent blog posting, he claims that non-Malays, and particularly the Chinese, were the real masters of the country.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — In a posting on his blog late Monday, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad appeared to criticise Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's economic liberalisation by coming out with a spirited defence of the country's affirmative action policies and claiming that the non-Malays, particularly the Chinese, were the real masters of the country.

Since he took over as premier in early April, Najib has begun rolling back affirmative action for the Malays, who form the country's majority, to boost investment and make Malaysia more competitive. The programme, known as the New Economic Policy (NEP), uses quotas, licences, restrictions and outright grants to lift the Malays into economic parity with the non-Malays.

In so doing, however, he has angered many Malays who have felt betrayed over his policy reversals and worried about falling further behind their richer countrymen.

In quick succession, Najib removed NEP restrictions from 27 service sub-sectors, liberalised financial services, and emasculated the Foreign Investment Committee, a powerful state body that could block deals if it felt that Malay interests were not being served. He also removed a decades-old requirement that mandated 30 per cent of an initial public offering's shares to be set aside for Malay interests.

More recently, Najib announced the setting up of a merit-based scholarship programme in what seemed to be an effort to appease the non-Malays who have long complained about being victimised.

While Najib's efforts have been generally lauded by analysts and investors, the more right-wing Malays have largely perceived it as a capitulation by Najib to non-Malay demands following the disastrous showing of his ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in the last general election. The worry for Najib's allies is that Dr Mahathir's comments could provoke nationalist objections to Najib's reforms.

This is no idle threat. Dr Mahathir, 83, wields considerable influence in Umno, the political party over which Najib presides. And the former premier was largely responsible for cutting short the tenure of Najib's predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

The former premier argued that 39 years after the NEP was introduced, the ethnic Malay share of the corporate pie remained at 20 per cent while the Chinese share was at 50 per cent although they consisted of only 26 per cent of the population. The Malays make up 64 per cent of Malaysia's 26 million people.

“The Bumiputera property holdings are only 15 per cent while the rest are held by non-Bumiputeras because urban property is worth more than rural property,” wrote Dr Mahathir.

“If they are honest, non-Malay leaders who put themselves in the shoes of the Malays will feel the disappointment of the Malays in seeing nearly all business and industry in the hands of the non-Malays,” said Dr Mahathir.

This is the second time Dr Mahathir has spoken out against government policy. A week ago, the combative former physician lambasted Kuala Lumpur's directive of stopping the teaching of science and mathematics in English and reverting to Bahasa Malaysia instead. Dr Mahathir had imposed the English ruling during his tenure.

Jul 20, 2009

Tun Mahathir immortalised in song

A song is written to commemorate Tun Mahathir's leadership to the development of Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: An album single will soon be released by a local oil and gas support company to commemorate former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s leadership in developing the nation.

The single titled Tun Dr Mahathir, Jasamu Dikenang will feature lyrics written by Octagon Petroleum Technology chairman Dr Nasoha Saabin and performed by local artiste Man Ferow.

Dr Nasoha said the song was composed based on his Terapi Bicara Kendiri (Self Talk Therapy) technique to self-improvement and inculcating positive values.

According to him, the album would be a fresh change from the current pop and rock songs in the market which were “only for entertainment”.

“Songs are a form of therapy and the lyrics are the medicine.

“I want to use the medium of song to build positive thinking and encourage healthy behaviour,” he told a press conference for the soft launch of the tribute single to Dr Mahathir yesterday.

Dr Nasoha, who has written more than 100 songs, said his company had allocated RM100,000 for the project with the aim of building its own studio to produce more “therapeutic” albums.

“Just to produce the single and another album titled Perkahwinan cost us nearly RM70,000,” he said, adding that Dr Mahathir had given his blessing for the single.

Dr Nasoha said the album’s launch would be held at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) on Aug 19.

Jul 11, 2009

Tun Mahathir : I don’t believe Khir’s mansion costs only RM3.5mil

Tun Mahathir has voiced out his opinion in relation to the former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Khir Toyo's RM3.5mil mansion.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not convinced with former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo’s claim that his controversial mansion costs only RM3.5mil.

“He cannot simply say he bought the mansion for RM3.5mil. I believe it is more than that,” he said.

“I also have a home in Seri Kembangan. I have spent RM1mil on it, but this (Dr Khir’s mansion) is massive - many times bigger than mine,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was met by reporters after attending a closed-door meeting on the position of the institutional monarchy and the Malays in the Federal Constitution from the 1Malaysia perspective at the Putra World Trade Centre, here, yesterday.

Asked if the matter could tarnish Umno’s image, he said: “Yes, I think so. He has to explain where he got the money to buy the house.”

On Monday, Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim alleged that Dr Khir’s property was worth RM24mil, but the latter had denied it saying that he secured a RM3.5mil loan to buy the house five years ago.

Mohd Khir said he took the loan from HSBC and had no problem servicing the monthly repayment of RM18,743 as he was now involved in business from which he was making RM50,000 a month.

It was also reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission will investigate Ng’s allegation that Dr Khir spent RM24mil to build the Balinese-style mansion in Section 7, Shah Alam during his tenure as the Mentri Besar.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan said the commission would get more details from the Selangor government.

Jul 10, 2009

Tun Mahathir gives thumbs down to new PM

While Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak may be enjoying a high popularity rating as he celebrates 100 days in office, his well-known supporter and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad brought the celebratory mood down a peg with an unfavourable assessment.

Speaking to reporters in Kuala Lumpur this morning, Mahathir said Najib gained "more negatives rather than positives" since taking over as the prime minister from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on April 3.

KUALA LUMPUR (AP) Malaysia's former leader Mahathir Mohamad on Friday gave a thumbs down to Prime Minister Najib Razak's first 100 days in office, saying there has been "more negatives than positives" under the new administration.

Since taking power April 3, Najib has implemented a wide range of economic reforms to woo foreign investors as the country faces its first recession in a decade.

Mahathir, who retired in 2003 but remains an influential political figure, slammed Najib's move to roll back an affirmative action program for ethnic Malay Muslims, including scrapping a requirement for Malays to own 30 percent equity in some sectors in the financial services industry.

Companies seeking to list on the stock exchange also no longer need to allot 30 percent shares for Malays.

Mahathir further criticized Najib for plans to scrap the use of English to teach math and science by 2012 in favor of the national Malay language, warning it would hurt the country's competitiveness. It reversed a policy started by Mahathir in 2003 amid concerns that poor English skills were hindering students' job opportunities.

Najib says the government remains committed to raise the level of English in schools by employing more English teachers and increasing the hours of teaching.

Mahathir also objected Najib's plans to build a third bridge to neighboring Singapore and said he hasn't taken concrete steps to fight corruption.

"I'm sorry to say this, there are more negatives than positives," he told reporters when asked to assess Najib's first 100 days. "It doesn't mean that I don't support the government but I think the government is doing the wrong things."

Mahathir, was Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister, in power between 1981 and 2003. He holds no government post but his views are widely respected.

Mahathir ran a fierce public campaign that helped pressure Najib's predecessor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, to step down in March, four years before his term expired.

Despite Mahathir's assessment, the independent Merdeka Center research firm earlier this week said Najib's approval rating has risen from 45 percent in mid-May to 65 percent, according to a telephone survey of about 1,000 voters nationwide. The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The center said the results indicate a rising number of Malaysians appreciate decisions made by Najib. Critics, however, said Najib's popularity rating was still the lowest of all Malaysia's prime ministers in their first 100 days.

Jul 8, 2009

Tun Mahathir claims his opinions on language switch ignored

Tun Mahathir is unhappy with PM Najib administration. This is because the new administration has decided to abort his language switch brainchild which he bulldozed through in 2003 amid a cacophony of protests. According to Mahathir, the government has made a hasty decision.

PUTRAJAYA, July 8 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad expressed disappointment with the government’s decision to scrap his policy of teaching mathematics and science in English, saying it will affect future generations.

He said his recommendations were not taken into consideration when deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also Education Minister, met him over the policy first introduced in 2003.

“I was only briefed about it, so after the briefing I gave my suggestions, I said even if it could not be implemented at primary level, at least at secondary level it should be maintained, so it was not a consultation only briefing,” Dr Mahathir told reporters here.

“I am saddened because the future of our children will be affected. They will be the victims,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said failure to get the teachers to teach the two subjects in English should not be used as an excuse to scrap the policy.

“The government’s responsibility is to train the teachers, the problems cannot be solved overnight, because this is important for our future, we have to face the challenges, I am confident our teachers can learn English,” he said.

On the government’s plan to train more English teachers Dr Mahathir said the same should also be done to science and mathematics teachers.

“It is a good move, but if they can train English teachers, they should also be able to train science and mathematics teachers,” said Dr Mahathir.

Earlier at a press conference to announce the scrapping of teaching mathematics and science in English policy, Muhyiddin said he and officials from Education Ministry had informed Dr Mahathir of the decision and the former prime minister had accepted the government’s views.

Jul 3, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Where did Petronas money go?

Over the past three decades since Petronas was set up, the national oil company has contributed almost half a trillion ringgit to the government's coffers - RM426.6 billion to be exact. But where has all the money gone to? That's what former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants to know.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 — Petronas adviser Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today asked what did the government spend with the RM253.6 billion payment from the national oil company over the past six years when his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was prime minister.

The former prime minister, a trenchant critic of Abdullah, wrote in his weblog that Petronas has been paying dividends, taxes, royalty and export duties to the government since 1976, after it was set up as the national custodian for fossil fuels.

"Where has the money gone to?" Dr Mahathir asked.

He said Petronas began by paying RM300 million in 1976, rising to RM2 billion in 1981, when he assumed office. The total from 1981 to 2003 was RM168.8 billion for the 22 years that marked Dr Mahathir's tenure as the country's fourth prime minister.

"From then onwards it increased from RM19 billion in 2004 to RM67.8 billion in 2009. The total for six years is RM253.6 billion," he said. It is not known if the figures were adjusted for foreign exchange fluctuations as oil is usually quoted in US dollars.

"I am sure the government had spent the money wisely. It would be interesting to know what the RM253.6 billion was spent on," said Dr Mahathir, who retired as prime minister in favour of Abdullah, who stepped down in early April.

His remarks today came after a June 25 announcement by Petronas that it had paid RM30 billion in dividends to the federal government for the financial year ended March 31, 2009.

The amount was despite a 14 per cent decline in net profit to RM52.5 billion due to lower crude oil prices and higher operating costs and included a special dividend of RM6 billion which was declared in the last calendar year. Petronas paid out RM24 billion in the previous financial year.

Apart from the dividends, Petronas — the country's only Fortune 500 company — also paid RM29.4 billion taxes, RM6.2 billion royalties and RM2.2 billion export duties for the last financial year, totalling RM67.8 billion to the federal government against RM56.8 billion in the previous year.

Jun 27, 2009

Tun Mahathir wants Najib to use 'crooked bridge' as bargaining chip

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad is not about to give up on his “crooked bridge” idea to replace the existing Causeway link to Singapore. In fact, the wily veteran may be trying to ride the current wave of negative reaction to Singapore’s demand for sand to revive his own frozen S-shaped bridge.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 26 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has stepped up his campaign to revive the idea of a crooked bridge to replace the Johore Causeway connecting Malaysia with Singapore, by calling on the government to once again use it as leverage in resolving outstanding bilateral issues with the republic.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has come under considerable pressure since he proposed a third bridge to connect the two countries earlier this month, instead of reviving Dr Mahathir’s scenic bridge proposal to replace the Malaysian portion of the Causeway.

But a number of Umno politicians have already objected to the third bridge, especially since it is likely that Singapore would want Johor to lift its ban on the sale of sand to the republic before agreeing to it.

Last week the Johore Sultan also rejected the third bridge proposal.

Writing in his blog today, Dr Mahathir said that since Singapore would only agree to a straight bridge to replace the Causeway if the ban on selling sand was lifted and that considering Johoreans were against the sale, the government’s only option was to build the crooked bridge.

“This is the sovereign right of an independent nation,” said Dr Mahathir.

The crooked bridge was the brainchild of Dr Mahathir before he left office in 2003.

His administration had decided to unilaterally build a crooked bridge and demolish the Malaysian portion of the Causeway.

But in 2006 his successor Tun Abdullah Badawi’s government decided to scrap the plan, leading to the souring of ties between the two men.

Dr Mahathir began an intense political campaign against Tun Abdullah and eventually left Umno last year, returning to the party only recently when Najib took office.

But Najib is now beginning to come under pressure from Dr Mahathir even though the latter has not openly criticised the current administration yet.

The former PM continued to single out Abdullah for blame in his blog entry today.

“Tun Abdullah decided not only to not build the bridge but to stop negotiating over all the other issues,” he wrote.

Dr Mahathir cited the package of outstanding bilateral issues, including Singapore’s refusal to release CPF contributions to Malaysians, the railway land issue and the low rate in which the island republic pays for water from Malaysia.

“All these issues are in Singapore’s favour and not negotiating better terms because the Johore people refuse to sell sand is like cutting one’s nose to spite one’s face.

“We are the losers. I think it is a very stupid way of punishing Singapore.”

Last week, Najib said no firm decision had been made yet on whether to go ahead with the proposed third bridge.

Jun 22, 2009

PM Najib : 'We did not overwelcome Lee Kuan Yew'

Malaysia did not overwelcome Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew during his eight-day visit to the country, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today. The prime minister said Lee was not accorded more than what he deserved.

PUTRAJAYA, June 22 — Malaysia did not over welcome Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew during his eight-day visit to the country early this month, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The prime minister said Lee was not accorded more than what he deserved.

“I don’t think we gave him more than (what) he deserved,” he told reporters after opening the 7th Heads of Mission Conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here today. He said this when answering a question on whether Malaysia had over welcomed the minister mentor.

Najib said he did not think Lee wanted to interfere in the country’s internal affairs when the latter made some comments.

“I don’t think so... (that) he wanted to interfere. I think he knows that any suggestion that he is trying to interfere would be counter-productive.

“His visit was for a fact-finding tour of the situation in Malaysia. We allowed it,” added the prime minister.

On whether Lee’s comment that Penang’s development was way behind Perak could be seen as insinuating, Najib said: “He made a few comments and overall, he wants to see Malaysia succeed, a stable Malaysia. That is most important.

“How he does it, is the style of the man and I think we have to recognise every person as being different.”

Lee had an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Mizan Zainal Abidin and Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak, as well as meeting Najib and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during the visit which began on June 9.

He also visited Negeri Sembilan, Perak, Penang, Kelantan and Pahang. — Bernama