Apr 23, 2009

Tun Mahathir : I’m not Najib’s adviser or consultant

Tun Mahathir, in quashing suggestions that he had been calling the shots from behind the scenes, said he was never consulted prior to decisions made by the leadership. Contrary to talk, he said Najib had been independent in running the country, consulting him for neither pointers nor advice.

CYBERJAYA: Saying he was not a “consultant” to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pointed out that the Prime Minister did not depend on him for any advice.

He cited the appointment of the Cabinet as an example, adding that he did not agree with the selection of certain people who he claimed were corrupt.

He declined to identify them, but said that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Deputy Minister Datuk Johari Baharom should not have been appointed.

“Nazri was nasty to me, so of course I don’t like him. And Johari ... he had this accusation against him that he had accepted RM5mil to release some people (from jail).

“Of course he was cleared. But some people feel that he should have not been made deputy minister,” he told reporters after presenting a speech titled “The MSC and Leadership in the Information Age” at the MSC Malaysia Leadership Talk Series here yesterday.

Nazri had been a vocal critic of Dr Mahathir when the latter constantly made scathing attacks against Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was prime minister then.

Johari was Deputy Internal Security Minister when he was accused of accepting bribes to release a detainee in 2007.

Dr Mahathir said he was only giving his personal opinion that Barisan Nasional should contest if a by-election is called in Penanti, although Najib had indicated that the coalition should focus more on improving the economy.

“I gave valid reasons. But I’m only expressing my opinion. He (Najib) doesn’t have to follow what I say. I give my opinion, but they don’t consult me. I’m not a consultant on every issue,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said the Iskandar Malaysia project would be a success if the bridge linking Johor Baru and Singapore was built.

“The bridge is needed because we need to prevent traffic jams occuring at the Causeway. Now that the bridge is not built, we can’t use the CIQ complex,” he added.

Earlier, he said local IT companies should not underestimate the potential of research and development (R&D) and allocate funds for it as the returns could be huge, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

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