Aug 30, 2010

Tun Mahathir warns NEP removal could lead to revolution

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad predicted today that there would be an escalation in racial tension and division should NEP-style policies be removed, likening the situation to the Communist revolution in Europe.

He stressed that the time was not right to introduce any policy which would “disregard the disparities between races in the interest of equity and merit.”

“Take away the minor protection afforded by the NEP and the bumis will lose whatever that they may have. Then racial division will be deepened by wealth division. I don’t think this would be good for the country. Remember it was the disparity between rich and poor in Europe which led to the violence of the Communist revolution.

“I may be labelled a racist but fear of the label will not stop me from working for what I think is the good of the country. Nothing will be gained by dividing the people of Malaysia into poor Bumis and rich non-Bumis. The time is not right for disregarding the disparities between the races in the interest of equity and merit,” said Dr Mahathir in a posting on his blog today.

The former PM continued his stout defence of the pro-Bumiputera New Economic Policy (NEP) style policies in his blog post, by suggesting an indefinite continuation of affirmative action programmes.

The former prime minister admitted today that he was “not proud” of the NEP which accorded protection to the Bumiputeras, but stressed that such protection was still necessary and that a 20 year-timeline was not enough for Malays to be economically on par with other races.

Malaysia’s NEP, put in place in 1971, officially ended in 1990, but many of its programmes are still being continued. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said he plans to remove subsidies and many of the pro-Bumiputera quotas under economic reforms. But Dr Mahathir and many Malay groups are opposed to the removal of quotas and equity targets, despite evidence suggesting Malaysia is being handicapped economically and is less competitive globally as a result of such policies.

“I am not proud of the protection afforded the Bumiputeras. It implies weakness. I don’t think Malays and other Bumiputeras like to think that they are inferior in any way.

“But the reality is that in Malaysia the Bumiputeras need new skills and a new culture even. These cannot be had by them in a mere 20 years. The original planners of the NEP were too optimistic,” said Dr Mahathir in a blog posting today although he did not provide or suggest a time frame in which the NEP would no longer be needed.

Using education as an example, Dr Mahathir lashed out at critics who have attacked the government for maintaining a 60 per cent quota for Bumiputeras in local universities.

The former PM said that if the current Bumiputera quota in public universities was reduced, more Bumiputeras should be then allowed to enter private universities which he claimed only consisted of 10 per cent Bumiputeras.

“Even the 10 per cent Bumis are there because of scholarships by MARA. Take the scholarships away and there would be practically none.

“Why is it that the focus is only on what is done by the government? If the Bumis in government universities should be reduced, then the Bumis in the private universities should be increased. Or else meritocracy would reduce the number of Bumiputeras getting university education. Or is it the intention to deny Bumis higher education? They are not the best but they are qualified,” said Dr Mahathir.

The outspoken politician claimed that there were more non-Bumiputeras in foreign universities than local universities because Bumiputeras still could not afford to pay for private tertiary education, and cautioned that this would inevitably result in the Bumiputeras lagging behind in education.

“Because they can afford it there are more non-Bumis than Bumis in foreign universities. This must increase the disparities in higher education between different races,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has been increasingly vocal in speaking out against the New Economic Model (NEM) introduced by Najib, saying that affirmative action must still be carried out, signaling fears that Malays and Bumiputeras would stand lose out the most if the administration were to implement a hundred percent meritocracy-based system.

The former prime minister revealed last week that he had written to the prime minister to offer his advice and let him know what he thought of the New Economic Model (NEM).

However, Dr Mahathir said he did not expect Najib to consider his recommendations.

Citing another case, the veteran politician alleged that even with the existing Bumiputera quotas in government contracts, there was still no guarantee that the contracts would actually be awarded to Bumiputeras.

“As for contracts even with the 5 per cent advantage given to Bumi contractors, many of the Government contracts do not go to them because of their lack of capacity. Even if they do get, non-Bumi contractors get most of the sub-contracts etc.

“Actually construction by the private sector is bigger than the public sector. In the private sector the Bumi contractors get next to nothing. I suppose this is because the private contracts are given based on merit. Or maybe it is not. I don’t know,” said the former Prime Minister.

In justifying his arguments, Dr Mahathir said that during his tenure as Prime Minister and under the implementation of the NEP, Malaysia enjoyed stability and good economic growth.

He noted that despite increased talks about “meritocracy,” the races in the country are more divided today than ever before.

“For 46 years this country enjoyed relative stability and consequently good growth. But today the races are more divided than ever. Everyone has become racist, talks about meritocracy notwithstanding. Everyone is thinking about his own race. If I am included it is because I think it is dangerous for the rich to take away what little the poor has,” added Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir has appeared to be highly critical of Najib and Umno in recent remarks, suggesting recently that the ruling party was weak and mismanaged.

The feisty ex-premier had also mocked proponents of meritocracy last week, calling them racist and decried Malays who supported meritocracy as having misplaced pride.

His comments come after recent remarks by top Malaysian banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak — the CIMB group chief executive and the brother of the PM — who said that the NEP had been “bastardised.”

Nazir has been pushing for reforms while Dr Mahathir has been putting his weight behind right wing Malay groups such as Perkasa, who believe Bumiputera quotas were a “right” of the Malays.

Dr Mahathir has also denied that the NEP had been an obstacle to the country’s development.

He has also mocked proponents of meritocracy, calling them “meritocrats” who are pushing for dominance by one race in all aspects of the country.

Aug 27, 2010

Tun Mahathir fires off NEM missive to PM Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad continued his defence of the pro-Bumiputera New Economic Policy (NEP) today and denied it had impeded growth, even as the Najib administration prepares to gradually reform the system which has been blamed for the country’s lack of competitiveness.

The former prime minister added that he had written to Datuk Seri Najib Razak to offer his advice and let him know what he thought of the New Economic Model (NEM).

However, Dr Mahathir said he did not expect Najib to consider his recommendations.

“I have already written to him [with] my comments, actually. I have also written to (Datuk Seri) Idris Jala. I have given my view so it is up to them to consider my advice or not. It is just my views,” he told reporters at the National Mosque here.

Dr Mahathir stressed that he had no political vendetta against Najib but was instead being critical of Umno and some of the PM’s reforms as a member of the public.

“Everybody has their weaknesses and the prime minister has tried his best, but I am only voicing my opinion on matters which I do not agree on.

“I heard that he wants public feedback on the budget. I am also the public,” he said.

Dr Mahathir has appeared to be critical of Najib and Umno in recent remarks, suggesting recently that the ruling party was weak and mismanaged.

The feisty ex-premier had also mocked proponents of meritocracy this week, calling them racist and decried Malays who supported meritocracy as having misplaced pride.

His comments come after recent remarks by top Malaysian banker Datuk Seri Nazir Razak — the CIMB group chief executive and the brother of the PM — who said that the NEP had been “bastardised.”

Nazir has been pushing for reforms while Dr Mahathir has been putting his weight behind right wing Malay groups such as Perkasa, who believe Bumiputera quotas were a “right” of the Malays.

Today, Dr Mahathir denied that the NEP had been an obstacle to the country’s development.

“The accusation that the country cannot grow because of NEP is not true because with NEP, this country has [grown] much faster than other developing countries. So you cannot say that the NEP is an obstruction,” he said.

Dr Mahathir then reiterated his warning that Umno risks losing support from the Malays if the party continues to neglect the community.

“Now there are so many Malay NGOs which are taking up the problem faced by the Malays. They have lost confidence with Umno’s ability to protect their rights,” he said.

Aug 23, 2010

Tun Mahathir against Langkawi Bridge project

LANGKAWI: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is against the proposed Langkawi bridge project saying that it will erode the island's unique features.

"Langkawi must remain an island and is unsuitable to be turned into a land mass," he told reporters after presenting chocolates and cash to 120 orphans and special children at Masjid Istiqamah in Kuala Teriang here Sunday night.

Two companies based in Perlis had proposed building a 48km bridge linking Langkawi to Kuala Perlis on the mainland.

Juruelit Sdn Bhd executive chairman Kamarudin Husin said on Friday the company had enough funds to build the project that includes a monorail bridge.

On another note, Tun Mahathir said he was disappointed that Muslims had become enemies just because they had different views.

He added as fellow Muslims they should not turn bitter enemies as it would divide and weaken them.

The former premier cautioned that this could result in Muslims losing power in their own land.

Tun Mahathir and wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali later joined 500 Muslims for buka puasa, maghrib, isyak dan tarawih prayers. - Bernama

Aug 18, 2010

To stay is a high achievement, says Tun Mahathir of Proton

SHAH ALAM, Aug 17 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that for Proton to stay in the market and celebrate its Silver Jubilee this year is in itself a high achievement.

“This is because we find big automobile companies like General Motors, Chrsyler and others all have been forced to rely on assistance,” said the former prime minister at the breaking of fast hosted by the national carmaker here tonight.

Proton, he said, still does not need help yet as it has been able to expand its market and products, and this is a proud achievement.

Dr Mahathir who is Proton adviser said that although the company no longer commands top placing in the country’s car market, it has performed better.

Proton’s profit in the first quarter of this year showed an increase compared with the first quarter of last year, he said.

This is a result of efforts by the dedicated managers, engineers and employees to produce cars acceptable to the market.

“We no longer hear defects in Proton cars like its windows failing to close properly,” he said

Now, everywhere we see the new Proton Saga has been well accepted by the people, he added.

Therefore, he said, Proton needs to double its efforts to churn out new high-tech models using hybrid or electric engines.

“We have yet to market these cars. I’m sure when it goes to the market, it will receive good response from the people,” he said. – Bernama

Aug 4, 2010

DPM agrees with Tun Mahathir that people don’t understand 1 Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, Aug 3 — Tan Sri Muhyiddin agreed today with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Malaysians have yet to understand the 1 Malaysia concept after the former prime minister said it had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir criticised the Najib administration’s 1 Malaysia slogan, claiming that the concept needed further “explanation” to prevent it from being interpreted differently by various races.

However, Muhyiddin defended the slogan and explained that public needed more time to fully understand 1 Malaysia.

“I agree with his (Dr Mahathir) opinion. We did not say that in a period of one year that everybody would understand the 1 Malaysia slogan launched by the prime minister but I am confident that many have understood. I believe that many have yet to fully understand the meaning of 1 Malaysia,” he told reporters after chairing a committee meeting on youth development at Perdana Putra here.

The deputy prime minister added that certain groups are purposely sabotaging the 1 Malaysia concept.

“There is however a tendency that the understanding is influenced by certain groups. Even though it has been explained by the prime minister that 1 Malaysia is based on the country’s constitution. Whatever the interpretation, it should not run far from the spirit of the constitution such as Bumiputera rights, Bahasa Malaysia, culture, religion and royalty.

“Since 1 Malaysia is dynamic and not static then certainly there will be certain groups that will try to interpret it according to their own interest. So steps must be taken by the government is to give explanation and programs to allow the public to better understand what is 1 Malaysia,” he said.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks came after a recent public opinion poll by the Merdeka Center found that a majority of non-Bumiputeras in the country considered Najib’s 1 Malaysia slogan a mere political gimmick.

According to the poll, only 39 per cent of non-Bumiputeras accepted the 1 Malaysia concept despite the fact that it had been introduced for over a year.

Forty-six per cent out of 3,141 respondents interviewed felt that 1Malaysia was only a “tactic to win over non-Malay support”, while another 16 per cent had either refused to answer the poll questions or claimed to have no understanding of the concept whatsoever.

Respondents were undecided on whether Malaysia had become more united under the Najib Administration, with 48 per cent saying yes and 43 per cent claiming that the country was still disunited.

Najib has been under a lot of fire lately as even veteran Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have come out and openly mocked his 1 Malaysia campaign, in effect branding it a “hollow” cause.

Veteran Umno politician and one time finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said recently that the 1 Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.

Aug 3, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Ling innocent until proven guilty

GEORGE TOWN: Although nobody can escape the long arm of the law, everyone must be presumed innocent until proven guilty, says former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the charge brought against former Transport Minister Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik was merely an accusation and it was up to the relevant authorities to present their case against him.

“That is only an accusation.

“Whether it is true or not will be the job of the relevant authorities to explain, because in a court of law, nobody is an exception,” he said when asked to comment on Dr Ling, who was charged in court in connection with the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) issue.

Ling, 67, who was charged at the Putrajaya Sessions Court on July 29 with cheating the Government, pleaded not guilty.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir said the 1Malaysia slogan must be explained in detail to the people of various races in the country, to provide a holistic understanding of the concept.

“When I speak to the Chinese and Malays, they have differing views and cannot be united.

“I feel that an in-depth explanation is needed,” he told reporters here yesterday.

He earlier met delegates of the Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim) to explain the confusion surrounding the 1Malaysia slogan.

Aug 2, 2010

Tun Mahathir says Najib must explain 1 Malaysia

GEORGE TOWN, Aug 2 – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has criticised the Najib administration’s 1 Malaysia slogan, claiming that the concept needed further “explanation” to prevent it from being interpreted differently by various races.

Dr Mahathir lamented the fact that the 1 Malaysia slogan, introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak shortly after he took office on August 3 last year, had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole.

“I have spoken to the Chinese, the Malays, each person has different opinions and cannot be united. I feel that an explanation is needed,” Bernama quoted Dr Mahathir (pic) as saying here today.

Dr Mahathir said that the onus was on the Najib administration to ensure that Malaysians understood the idea behind the 1 Malaysia slogan, to avoid further misunderstanding or confusion.

“They (the rakyat) do not know which is which, which ones are for the Chinese and which ones are for the Malays. If I were to explain, how should I know, I was not the one who created the slogan,” said the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister.

Dr Mahathir’s remarks today come after a recent public opinion poll by the Merdeka Center found that a majority of non-Bumiputeras in the country considered Najib’s 1 Malaysia slogan a mere political gimmick.

According to the poll, only 39 per cent of non-Bumiputeras accepted the 1 Malaysia concept despite the fact that it had been introduced for over a year.

Forty-six per cent out of 3,141 respondents interviewed felt that 1Malaysia was only a “tactic to win over non-Malay support”, while another 16 per cent had either refused to answer the poll questions or claimed to have no understanding of the concept whatsoever.

Respondents were undecided on whether Malaysia had become more united under the Najib administration, with 48 per cent saying yes and 43 per cent claiming that the country was still disunited.

Najib has been under a lot of fire lately as even veteran Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have come out and openly mocked his 1 Malaysia campaign, in effect branding it a “hollow” cause.

Veteran Umno politician and one time finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah said recently that the 1Malaysia slogan was “hollow” and had lacked direction and vision and even compared it to Dr Mahathir’s Vision 2020.

In a rare compliment to the former prime minister, Tengku Razaleigh said that Vision 2020 “inspired” more confidence among Malaysians than 1Malaysia.

“When Dr Mahathir positioned a vision of 2020, the vision, its idea gives people hope.

“1Malaysia is hollow, it must have a policy to go about it, to support it. Only then will people get involved in it,” the Gua Musang MP told The Malaysian Insider recently.

Similarly, Najib has been castigated by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders who claim that 1 Malaysia was not even respected and understood by ministers in the Cabinet, following Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s declaration earlier this year that he was “Malay first, then Malaysian”.

Jul 28, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Code Of Ethics Will Make Bloggers More Respected

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 (Bernama) -- Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called on bloggers to adhere to a certain code of ethics and ensure their blog articles are backed by truth in order for blogs to become a respected medium for the betterment of the society.

The former prime minister said the blogging ethics should be voluntary because these were for the bloggers' own good and from which they would build their reputation in the eyes of the people.

Dr Mahathir, himself a blogger, said the society had access to blogs, a medium which he said was "almost beyond the control of any authority", and that if bloggers were ethical and write the truth, more people would make blogs their source of information.

If bloggers adhered to these ethics, he said, "I think eventually people will come to respect blogs."

"If we are not saying the truth, people will desert blogs like (how they desert) the ordinary media today," he said in his keynote address at the Asian Bloggers and Social Media Conference 2010, here Wednesday.

The two-day conference, themed "Reflections of the Social Media Revolution", is organised by My Events International and is attended by about 400 people across Asia.

Dr Mahathir said although bloggers were free to blog what they want, they should do so in a responsible manner and not abuse the medium.

"(Bloggers) should not say nasty things or curse people; don't do that because people will get annoyed and they can take action against you," he said, adding that "even if we don't like a person, we should not say things which are not true (about that person)."

Dr Mahathir, who runs a popular blog at, said it was imperative for bloggers to be able to back what they say.

He said that although bloggers had the advantage in terms of freedom, they must make use of the freedom to shape the opinion towards building a better world community and for the betterment of the people.

"No one can stop or correct you because you are in charge; you are the writer, the editor and the publisher... when you have the weapons, don't use it indiscriminately. Bloggers must always exercise restraint and avoid anything that is not true and things that hurt people," he said.

Dr Mahathir said while some blogs were very good, there were others which were "worthless" and that certain skills were needed to sort out blogs which reported the truth from those that contained mere propaganda.

"Problems arise because there are so much news coming in; you get confused and when you get confused you make the wrong decision. So you have to sort out the news," he said.

Dr Mahathir also said that the ordinary press would not be able write everything because of space constraint.

He said that because of such constraint he turned to blog to provide him with the space to express his views.

Dr Mahathir also said that his blog was being read by people from many countries, including from Israel.

If bloggers write with responsibility, they and their blogs would become popular, he added.

Jul 8, 2010

Doctor of Science degree for Tun Mahathir

KUALA TERENGGANU: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is to be conferred an honorary Doctor of Science degree in conjunction with the eighth convocation of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) on July 25 and 26.

UMT vice-chancellor Prof Dr Aziz Deraman said the award was in appreciation of Tun Dr Mahathir’s services to the nation.

“The conferment of the doctorate on Tun Dr Mahathir is an important and meaningful event for UMT,” he said at the 2010 Media Night here last night.

Tun Dr Mahathir would be unable to attend the convocation but the university would hold a special convocation at the end of this year to present the honorary doctorate, he said.

Dr Aziz also said that UMT had allocated RM339mil for development of the university in the first six months of this year, the projects including a health centre and a student activity centre. -- Bernama

Jun 30, 2010

Tun Mahathir renews pressure on Najib to revive crooked bridge

KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pressed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to revive the crooked bridge he had proposed to replace the Johor Causeway connecting Malaysia and Singapore.

The former prime minister questioned Najib’s reluctance in continuing the project despite a request by the Sultan of Johor for Putrajaya for its revival.

“The question that many have asked me, and I am convinced that this is also being asked by a majority of people, is why Datuk Seri Najib as the powerful prime minister is not willing to continue building this bridge?” asked Dr Mahathir in a posting on his popular blog today.

“Is Najib tied in a deal with the fifth prime minister? What is the status of this deal?” he added, referring to former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Badawi who had cancelled the crooked bridge project.

The proposal to build a “crooked” bridge to replace the ageing Causeway, linking peninsular Malaysia to the island republic, was mooted by Dr Mahathir when he was the prime minister.

However, relations between the two countries were often chilly during his administration, causing Singapore to shoot down his idea which was eventually cancelled by his successor Abdullah.

Besides easing traffic congestion between Johor Baru and Singapore, the proposed bridge would also facilitate the free flow of water in the Tebrau Straits in addition to allowing ships heading to East Asia to bypass Singapore.

“I have never heard objections from Malaysians towards the bridge project in replacing the Johor Causeway,” said Dr Mahathir.

“There is also a letter from the previous prime minister of Singapore, Goh Chok Tong, that was published by the Singaporean government in the book ‘Water Talks – If Only It Could’ that he never objected the building of the bridge in Malaysian waters if it was so desired by the Malaysian government,” he added.

In response to the Sultan of Johor's call for the bridge project to be revived, Najib had said that his administration would look into the matter but did not elaborate further.

At Najib's recent meeting with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong a month ago, both leaders had decided to reduce toll charges at the Second Link, one of two bridges linking Malaysia and Singapore, by 30 per cent starting August 1 this year.

Aside from the toll rate announcement, the two prime ministers had also agreed to move the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) station from Tanjong Pagar to the Woodlands Train Checkpoint (WTCP) by July 1, 2011, as well as setting up a joint venture company called M-S Pte Ltd, to jointly develop the land that is left behind.

However, the issue of the crooked bridge or a third bridge was not discussed in their meeting.

Najib had mooted the idea of a third bridge linking the republic to Malaysia in June last year, which he said could enable the development of the eastern side of Johor and districts like Mersing and Desaru.

Jun 24, 2010

Tun Mahathir : I would have approved betting licence

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he would approve the widely unpopular football betting licence if he were still in power.

“If I am the government, I will approve it,” he said in Putrajaya today.

He said the government should not stop those who are permitted to gamble.

“The Chinese always gamble, it isn’t haram for them. Why stop them?

“Why should we stop them? We can’t stop them from eating pork because for them it’s not haram,” he said.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan’s Berjaya Corp had reported last month that the government had re-issued the licence to Ascot Sports Sdn Bhd — also controlled by Tan — after the original licence was cancelled by the previous administration under Tun Abdullah Badawi.

The listed company had proposed in a filing made to Bursa Malaysia on May 12 to acquire Tan’s 70 per cent stake of Ascot Sports for RM525 million. The remaining 30 per cent would remain under the control of his son, Datuk Robin Tan Yeong Ching.

However, its status has been called into question by the Finance Ministry’s recent denial that it had issued the licence to Ascot Sports following public uproar at the legalisation of another avenue for gambling.

Long-time Mahathir associate Tan had first obtained the licence from the feisty veteran politician himself but had “asked the government to take it back” when the venture was unsuccessful.

But he has now obtained the right to get the licence back and was exercising it.

Dr Mahathir said last Monday that Pakatan Rakyat’s objections to the re-issuance of the sports betting licence was not driven by religious reasons but, rather, political ones.

“The objection is political, not Islamic,” he had said.

“Even the DAP is protesting, as if the DAP too is supporting Islamic teachings. This is the politics of the opposition parties which are looking at issues (for political mileage).”

Jun 15, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Make sports betting legal

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the opposition by many quarters against the move by the government to issue a sports betting licence is purely for political reasons.

KUALA TERENGGANU: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given his backing to a proposal to issue licences for sports betting, saying that this will help legalise the industry as well as thwart illegal gambling.

He slammed opposition leaders for protesting against the issuance, claiming that they were just trying to gain political mileage.

“I don’t understand DAP’s rationale in protesting. It is not as if DAP is championing the tenets of Islam. They just want to make a mountain out of a molehill to garner political support,” he said after delivering his keynote address at an inaugural rally organised by Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat’s (People’s Consciousness Move ment) here yesterday.

Dr Mahathir also questioned PAS’ motive in objecting to the plan as there were other forms of licensed gambling in the country.

“They are also against the plan, not because of Islam but to win political support. They are not against other types of gambling. They just want to find fault on football betting to get political attention,” he said, adding that legalising sports betting was the only way to stamp out underground syndicates.

Dr Mahathir said even if the Government decided against issuing the licence, the Chinese would still continue to gamble as they had a passion for it.

“Sport betting is for the non-Muslims and it is their right to gamble,” he said, adding that the Government could not forbid them from gambling.

Dr Mahathir also scoffed at a suggestion that the Government was forced to approve the licence to millionaire Tan Sri Vincent Tan as gratitude for funding the Barisan Nasional in recent polls.

“Vincent Tan has been prospering in Vietnam, Korea and China. He is not desperate to find money here,” he pointed out.

Dr Mahathir also said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak could consider calling for an early general election if it was confirmed that his approval ratings had climbed to 72% from 69% in a recent poll conducted by Merdeka Centre.

In Parliament, backbencher Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin called on the Government to legalise sports betting to curb illegal gambling, especially when the World Cup fever was at its peak.

He added that illegal bookies were raking in at least RM15bil per year in football betting, most of which was then channelled overseas.

“The Government should provide an option for non-Muslims to participate in legal sports betting activities. If we want to prevent a huge outflow of money from the country, then we should legalise sports gambling.

“The Government can gain revenue through taxes. It should also be made clear that only Muslims cannot gamble and drink,” he said when debating the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Jun 14, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Barry Wain can say what he wants

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he will not sue the author of a political biopic despite claims in the book that the former prime minister squandered RM100 billion (US$40 billion) of the country’s wealth.

“My view is that a politician must accept all the opinions for or against him as normal. They go with the job,” he said in his blog

Former Asian Wall Street Journal editor, Barry Wain, whose book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, had also attributed many problems hampering Malaysia today to the former prime minister’s 22-year-tenure.

However, Dr Mahathir said the author and his supporters can say what they like.

“The people in this country can decide whether it is just arrogance or whether their accusations are what they say they are. I will have my say if I think it necessary.”

He said many have asked him to sue the author especially after a recent forum held at the University of Malaya to discuss the book during which he was condemned for all kinds of misdeeds.

“In fact even before the book was allowed to be sold in Malaysia, many who took exception to Barry Wain’s vilification of my stint as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, including the press, have asked me to sue the author.”

However, Dr Mahathir said that he was wary of politicians who sue their critics, describing the move as cowardly

“I suspect that what they want is to make the issue sub-judice so as to prevent the critics from attacking them on the issue. This is a cowardly move and in fact proves that the criticisms are fully justified.”

He said a politician who is convinced of his own integrity and innocence should be able to fend off the attacks by proving that they have no basis.

“It is up to the people, after hearing both sides to decide on the matter.”

He said muzzling critics by abusing the authority of the court is no better than governments which censor or shut down papers, critical of them.

“Those who resort to this trick to shut the mouths of their critics are in fact showing the kind of leader they would make if they come to power.”

He said Malaysians should be discerning enough to recognise such politicians who are fond of accusing others of misdeeds but who are in fact already abusing whatever little power they may have at their disposal.

In his best seller, Wain indicated that issues which exist in Malaysia today including corruption, lack of leadership and abuse of the New Economic Policy stemming from Dr Mahathir’s tenure.

However Wain, who was a foreign correspondent in Malaysia from 1977 to 1979 and has worked in Asia for 38 years, said Malaysia was already one of the fastest-growing developing economies midway into Dr Mahathir tenure.

The book, a result of two-and-a-half years of research and interviews spread over three years, was launched in Asia in December last year but the Home Ministry only approved its sale in Malaysia in April this year.

Over 4,000 copies were sold here after its launch and another 5,000 copies are being printed for Malaysia by UBSD Distribution Sdn Bhd.

Tun Mahathir claims Malays could become like ‘Singapore Malays'

KUALA TERENGGANU, June 14 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the Malays were in crisis and risked becoming marginalised like “Singapore Malays” because of political divisions.

He told a rally of Malay NGOs here today that Malays could end up as a minority in their own country.

According to the ex-premier, the community had become divided by political parties selling them out for power.

He then blamed PAS and PKR, instead of Umno, for the predicament he claimed Malays were now in.

“The Malays make up 60 per cent of the population. However, the percentage of Malay voters are smaller today because 20 per cent each is given to the three [Malay] political parties, including Umno.

“And they will fight each other, [and this will cause] the community to become a minority. They (PKR and PAS) only want to grab power. Their priority is not race and religion but power.

“They are willing to do anything to become prime minister,” he claimed when addressing Gertak’s rally at the state’s indoor stadium here.

Fewer than a thousand people were present at The Gerakan Kebangkitan Rakyat’s (People’s Awareness Movement) “Melayu Bangkit” rally here. The organisers had expected a turnout of more than five thousand.

Gertak means “to intimidate” or “to bully” in Bahasa Malaysia, but organisers have denied that today’s rally was meant to intimidate non-Malays.

Dr Mahathir said that community was in crisis and must act before it shares the same fate as its southern neighbours.

“If we do not think deeply about the future of our community then there is a possibility that we can become [like] the Singaporean Malays and have no power.

“We would have to bow down when facing other races. It’s not that we want other races to bow down to us but we want fair distribution of economic and political power,” he said.

The Gertak movement was founded earlier this year, shortly after the controversial “Allah” judgment.

In a landmark ruling on Dec 31 last year, the Catholic Church won the right to use the word “Allah” to also refer to God outside of Islam, shattering a long-held view among many Malaysian Muslims who considered that the word was reserved for their community.

The movement’s purpose was to unite the Malay community, which today is split over issues of religion and race, Gertak chief Razali Idris said.

An initial rally scheduled for May 13 had been cancelled after authorities stepped in out of concern the event may trigger memories of the racial bloodbath from 41 years ago and reignite tensions between Malaysia’s diverse ethnic groups.

Jun 7, 2010

Rethink Gaza aid channels, urges Tun Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR, June 7 — A new assessment on the effectiveness of shipping humanitarian relief aid to Gaza has to be made to ensure the aid reaches the people of Gaza, said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said: “We have to make an assessment first as to the effectiveness of the method of bringing relief to Gaza. This is not just a propaganda.

“We are very worried that cement, for example, is not allowed by the Israelis to be imported into Gaza. They (Palestinians) may make use of it to build military bunkers to fight against them (Israelis), but without the cement they (Palestinians) cannot build the houses,” said Dr Mahathir when asked on the next move of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) to bring aid to the Gazans following the hijacking of the relief vessels by Israel’s navy.

He was speaking to reporters after launching the inaugural charity fund to raise funds for the development of a new Kiblah Education Complex yesterday, which will comprise a secondary school, a tahfiz centre and a linguistics centre, under the patronage of Yayasan Kebajikan Nusantara (Yakin).

The new Kiblah Education Complex will be built in Jenderam Hilir, Sepang.

When asked whether humanitarian aid can be transported by air, he said that he did not think so, and added that “it might be by land”.

“If Egypt opens its border with Raffah, they want to examine everything and every item that we take and that may cause delays, and also they may consider certain things as dangerous,” he said.

Earlier in his speech, Dr Mahathir expressed his hope that the development of the new Kiblah Education Complex would stress the understanding and teaching of Quran.

At tonight’s charity dinner, the Yayasan Kebajikan Nusantara received donations amounting to RM3.5 million including 3 million Qatar Rials from Emir of Qatar, who was represented by the Mufti of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Syeikh Dr Sulaiman Al-Saloomi. — Bernama

Jun 6, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Malays now divided into three groups

(BERNAMA) Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes that the people will give Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak time and space to strengthen racial solidarity and boost the country's economic development.

He said it was not easy for Najib to resolve problems relating to the economy and unity unless the people gave him their undivided support.

"If he (Najib) does anything bad, then you can criticise, but if he does something good, we should support him so that he will get the strength from our support.

"When he gets strong support, he can discharge his duty more effectively. A weak leader will certainly not be able to protect us," he said.

He said this to reporters after attending a programme in Tanjong Karang yesterday.

Meanwhile, the former prime minister said the Malays must unite again to regain their political power because although they form 60 per cent of the population, the race had been divided into three.

The Malays were now divided into three groups and mathematically, Umno only represented 20 per cent of the 60 per cent Malays. The same was also true of PAS and PKR.

"Twenty per cent for each Malay party is considered weak. The Malays have lost direction, some have joined the DAP.

"There are Malays wearing scarves but carrying the rocket (DAP) flags during the Sibu parliamentary by-election," he said.

Jun 4, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Give Najib time and space

TANJONG KARANG: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should be given time and space to strengthen racial solidarity and boost the country’s economic development, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He added it would not be easy for Najib to resolve problems unless the people gave him their undivided support.

“If he (Najib) does anything bad, then you can criticise, but if he does something good, we should support him.

“When he gets strong support, he can discharge his duty more effectively,” said the former Prime Minister.

On another matter, Dr Mahathir said the Malays must unite again to regain their political power because although they form 60% of the population, the race had been divided into three.

“Mathematically, Umno only represented 20% of the Malays. The same was also true of PAS and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.

“20% for each Malay party is considered weak,” he said, adding the Malays had lost their direction. — Bernama

May 30, 2010

Tun Mahathir agrees subsidy must go but says it must be done gradually

JOHOR BARU: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad fully supports the Government's plan to reduce subsidy but feels it should be introduced gradually while efforts must be made to increase the income of the 'rakyat' to lessen the impact of the resulting price hike.

The former prime minister said people must accept the fact that prices of commodities such as oil were going up.

"The price of oil during my time was USD30 (RM98) per barrel while now it is USD80 (RM263) and it has even reached USD140 (RM460) at one time.

"I feel that it is more realistic if the price of oil is increased gradually until it reflects the market price as the Government has manage to maintain the price without any significant increase all these years," he told pressmen after launching the MAYC veteran card here Saturday.

Dr Mahahtir said it was important not to raise the price drastically to prevent from the people feeling the pinch. "The subsidy should be reduced gradually so that the pain is not too strong.

"The government must ensure the people's income is increased as well," he said.

He said Malaysia was considered quite fortunate as prices of items and commodities were relatively cheap compared to other countries adding that even the price of oil in Bangladesh was more expensive.

Asked whether his visit to the new Johor state new administrative centre in Kota Iskandar, located within Iskandar Malaysia on Saturday, signified his support for the economic region, Dr Mahathir said he agreed with the concept of having a special area developed for economic purposes.

"However, I questioned whether it will bring benefit to Malaysia.

"If it can be proven that it can bring benefit to Malaysia, then I will support," he said.

Dr Mahathir was one of the biggest critics of the project when it was launched during his immediate successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's administration.

When asked on whether he still wished for the crooked bridge linking Johor Baru and Singapore to be built, Dr Mahathir said yes but declined to comment further.

May 28, 2010

Foreign worker limit affects locals, says Tun Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — The Najib administration’s decision to restrict the entry of foreign workers has also affected job opportunities for Malaysians, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

The former prime minister said the absence of low-skilled foreign workers has impacted the manufacturing industry, resulting in locals losing their jobs.

He said he has been approached by businesses seeking for the restriction to be eased.

“A Japanese corporation has been facing problem because foreign workers are hired to do jobs that do not require skills, [are] lowly paid and do not attract locals,” said Dr Mahathir in a blog post last night.

“Our workers work in the higher level to process the work done by the workers below them. When there are no lower level workers, initial works cannot be done,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said such a scenario would cause businesses to shut.
“When they do this, Malaysians will also lose their source of income. The same problem can be seen in Langkawi, too. Restaurants and duty-free shops do not have workers anymore,” said Dr Mahathir.

“I believe Malaysians are not that cruel to let businesses and local workers to suffer losses just because they don’t like to see foreign workers here,” he said.

Early last year, the government started banning the hiring of foreign workers in the manufacturing and service sectors, in a move to prevent locals from being laid-off.

Malaysia now has approximately 1.9 million foreign workers spread across sectors such as manufacturing (39 per cent), construction (19 per cent), plantation (14 per cent), housemaids (12 per cent), services (10 per cent), and with the rest in agriculture.

The contributing countries by rank are: Indonesia (50.9 per cent), Bangladesh (17.4 per cent), Nepal (9.7 per cent), Myanmar (7.8 per cent), India (6.3 per cent), and the rest from Vietnam.

Last month, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had announced that the government plans to reduce the number of foreign workers to 1.5 million in three years.

Tun Mahathir - Vell Paari must show proof

KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu’s son Vell Paari must give clear proof that Umno was behind the Gerakan Anti-Samy Vellu (GAS).

Dr Mahathir said he was not representing Umno in asking but he had said long ago that one must not overstay one’s welcome, which was one reason why he himself had stepped down.

“Samy Vellu had served longer than me. He has established a record and one should be satisfied with that record,” he said after the 5th Malaysia Conference on Healthy Ageing yesterday.

Vell Paari, an MIC central working committee member, claimed that Umno was supporting expelled former MIC Youth deputy head V. Mugilan in the campaign to oust the MIC president.

May 27, 2010

Tun Mahathir tells Samy Vellu not to overstay

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that embattled MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu should leave.

“I’m not representing Umno. But long ago I have said that one must not overstay his welcome. That was why I stepped down,” said Dr Mahathir, who stepped down as prime minister in 2003 after being in power for 22 years.

“He has served longer than me and he has set record. I think with that kind of record he should be satisfied,” he added.

On the accusation that Umno was trying to politically assassinate Samy Vellu, Dr Mahathir said those who made the accusation must provide evidence.

“He has to give convincing evidence that Umno is involved,” said the former Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman.

Samy Vellu has been under pressure to step down after expelled MIC deputy Youth chief V. Mugilan launched an anti-Samy Vellu campaign called GAS.

Mugilan, who plans to hold a large gathering this weekend to force Samy Vellu to resign, has been accused of working for Umno.

Samy Vellu’s son Vell Paari had also alleged that Umno is behind the move to oust Samy Vellu, an accusation that was dismissed by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who described Vell Paari as insolent.

The accusation was also repeated by MIC Youth chief T. Mohan, who had asked the party to reconsider its position in BN.

Samy Vellu, who took over the MIC presidency from the late Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam 31 years ago, had promised to step down “seven or eight months” before his term expires in March 2012, to pave the way for his deputy Datuk G. Palanivel to become the president.

The plan, however, was opposed by Mugilan, who wanted Samy Vellu to leave by the end of the year, which resulted in his sacking.

Apart from Mugilan, three CWC members — K.P. Samy, Kumar Amman and V. Subramaniam (or Bharat Maniam) — have been sacked for questioning Samy Vellu’s retirement plan.

May 21, 2010

Wain: Tun Mahathir caused country’s woes

PETALING JAYA, May 21 — The author of a hot-selling political biography on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said many issues hampering Malaysia had come from the ex-prime minister’s tenure.

Former Asian Wall Street Journal editor, Barry Wain, whose book “ Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)”, sold 4,000 copies in just two weeks added that he does not see any broad changes being brought about by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“I argue that a lot of problems in Malaysia stem from Dr Mahathir’s rule,” said Wain in an interview yesterday, during a reception to celebrate the launch of the book. “Issues like corruption did stem from when he was in power. Lack of leadership, abuse of the NEP (New Economic Policy), problems that exist today.”

Wain, who was a Malaysia correspondent from 1977 to 1979 and has been in Asia for 38 years, said it was “quite obvious” that Malaysia has fallen behind other countries because of abuse of the controversial race-based NEP and that he was still waiting to see substantial reforms.

“I don’t see any broad changes at all,” said Wain of Najib, who is the country’s sixth prime minister and son of the second premier, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.

Wain noted, however, that during the middle of Dr Mahathir’s tenure, Malaysia was one of the fastest-growing developing economies. And with 10 years of GDP growth above nine per cent, there was not a sense of concern at that time over where the country was heading under Dr Mahathir.

The reason why Malaysia was still lagging behind advanced Asian economies such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan even after all the rapid growth, according to Wain, was that the fast economic growth masked problems such as cronyism and the merging of politics with business.

“The great influx of cash hid that Malaysia was becoming uncompetitive,” he noted.

The book is a result of two-and-a-half years of research and interviews spread out over three years.

Wain also refuted reports that Dr Mahathir had seen a draft of the book before it went to print.

“That’s not the case,” said Wain. “I would never agree to an interview (with Dr Mahathir) if he imposed a condition to see the book before it goes to print.”

The book was launched in Asia in December last year but the Home Ministry only approved it for sale in Malaysia last month, which led to many Malaysians buying the book in Singapore or downloading pirated copies from the internet.

Due to the success of the book, another 5,000 copies are being printed for Malaysia and the book’s distributor, UBSD Distribution Sdn Bhd, expects sales to hit 10,000 by the end of the month, a high figure given the non-fiction nature of the book and its price.

“This is the first time that bookshops lined up at the warehouse to get the book,” said UBSD executive director Christopher Toh.

It is learnt that Malaysians had previously crossed the Causeway to Singapore to buy the book at bookshops in the island republic.

May 19, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Punish all in Sime Darby fiasco

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said action should be taken against all those involved in Sime Darby Berhad’s cost overruns for the Bakun project and not just chief executive Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid.

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has claimed that the cost overruns in the Bakun project were almost RM1.8bil and said the responsibility for the Sime Darby fiasco should be shared.

"The Bakun hydro project was given to Sime Darby and a Chinese partner at RM1.8bil. Now, the CEO has been dismissed because of cost overruns in the project, amounting to RM900mil.

"But I believe, and Sime Darby can correct me, the overruns are more than that because the Government has already compensated Sime Darby with about RM700mil.

"So the total cost overruns would be almost equal to the bidded price of RM1.8bil. The price has been doubled," Dr Mahathir wrote in his blog, chedet Wednesday.

"How come the bid is so low? I would think the engineers would know that they would not be able to build at RM1.8bil. Who are the consultants in Sime Darby? How come they okayed such a low cost for the project?" he asked.

He said the responsibility for the overruns should be shared: "Is it only the CEO who was responsible? Who are the others who were involved with the project and failed to see that the cost overruns were very high and the project has been delayed by almost three years.

"I think responsibility should be shared. I was told of this cost overrun and delay three years ago," Dr Mahathir wrote.

Meanwhile, Sime Darby chairman Tun Musa Hitam told a news portal Wednesday that he would quit if required to, in wake of the conglomerate's huge first-quarter losses.

"When I have made my own assessment, if necessary, yes, I am prepared," he said.

He added, however, that it was up to the shareholders to decide whether board members should also be made to resign.

Last week, the board asked president and group CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zubir Murshid to take a leave of absence, prior to the expiry of his contract in November this year.

This came after Sime Darby reported RM964mil in cost overruns from projects, including the Bakun dam project, racked up during his tenure.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said last week there would be no cover-up of any weaknesses or losses at Sime Darby.

The cost overruns were discovered by a board work-group assessing the corporate governance and performance of Sime Darby's energy and utiliies division.

May 17, 2010

DAP wins Sibu by-election

SIBU, May 16 — The DAP pulled off a surprise win in the Sibu by-election today, defeating Barisan Nasional’s (BN) SUPP by 398 votes in a hard fought race, official results show.

DAP 18845 votes
BN 18447 votes
Independent 232 votes

DAP won with majority 398

BN had earlier been expected to retain its Sarawak stronghold but lost despite the best efforts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

The Sibu vote is seen as a bellwether for the Sarawak state elections which must be called by next year.

Today’s result is significant in that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has snapped a streak of successive defeats to BN in recent by-elections.

The count now is 8-3 in favour of PR in terms of wins in by-elections held since Election 2008.

Today’s result is also a setback for Najib who had personally campaigned for BN and had placed his own reputation on the line.

Najib has been counting on Sabah and Sarawak as BN’s fixed deposit, but today’s result shows a major swing from 2008 when BN won the seat by more than 3,000 votes.

Today’s result also raises two thorny issues — how to deal with the Tan Sri Taib Mahmud factor and whether to push for state polls which sources say had been slated for October this year.

May 14, 2010

Tun Mahathir against nuclear plants in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is against building nuclear plants in Malaysia because of the dangers posed from spent nuclear fuel, saying its disposal would have an adverse effect on public safety.

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday that Putrajaya has identified Pahang, Johor and Terengganu as the possible states for a proposed nuclear power plant due to the availability of remote locations that are close to water sources, in line with international rules.

“Personally, I am against nuclear power plants and anything that involves nuclear except for medical use because the scientists have not yet understood the power of nuclear material,” the former prime minister told reporters here today.

“Once you activate the uranium or whatever, you cannot deactivate it. So we have a problem of nuclear waste which is accumulating throughout the world. In America, you paid the Red Indians money in order to bury the nuclear wastes in their reserves. That is not very good,” he added.

Energy, Green Technology, and Water Minister Datuk Seri Peter Chin recently announced a proposal to set up a nuclear plant has been approved and that the plant would start operating from 2021, with plans to use it as an alternative energy source by 2025.

A nuclear plant typically needs an efficient cooling system. Most plants are designed to include the visually familiar cooling towers — which look like giant chimneys — and some use sea-water to cool down the water used in the steam turbine.

An essential part of a plant are its nuclear safety systems which ensure that it is possible to shut the reactor down, keep it deactivated, and prevent the release of radioactive material during emergency events.

The handling of spent nuclear fuel is more critical compared to fresh fuel, as after nuclear fuel rods are spent, they will be stored for about five years in a spent fuel pool on site.

The spent rods will then be stored in another on-site dry storage, before being transported elsewhere for storage or recycling. There are bigger risks when transporting or storing nuclear fuel rods because they will still be radioactive for more than a hundred years.

However Dr Mahathir said further studies need to be conducted on activated uranium before the country seriously considers building a nuclear plant.

“So until we understand more about the science of activated uranium. I think we shouldn’t use and that is my view but of course if the government wants to use then I cannot stop them. Duringmy time, I had already stipulated that no nuclear power plant will be used and built in this country,” he said.

He added Malaysia is already facing problems with the disposal of ‘amang’ from tin mines.

“In Malaysia, we do have nuclear wastes which the public are not aware of. We have to bury the amang, the by-products from tin mining in Perak. It is not radio-active but it is not good to handle. They activate it because they wanted to use it for color TV but then color TV used other materials for the TV screen.

“This resulted in excess of activated amang and we had a problem in trying to get rid of these amang and buried it in Perak, deep in the ground with concrete. But still the place is still not safe to go and they have about one square mile that is dangerous,” he said.

Studies have shown that tin plants processing amang, or tin tailings, have known to have radiological risks. The process of using large volume of water used to separate the concentration of amang has been associated with giving rise to radiological environmental problems.

The processing plants in Malaysia are also exempted from licensing by the Atomic Engergy Licensing board which result in the plants from being regulated properly and increases the risk of abuse by the operators.

There are currently 113,700 hectares of former mining land in the country.

May 10, 2010

Tun Mahathir : Malaysia is not a totalitarian state

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today dismissed Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) claims that the country was a totalitarian state, pointing out that the pact had been able win in elections and form state governments.

But Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister admitted that governance would have been easier if he was a dictator.

“In Malaysia, the opposition said that we are a totalitarian state because we have had the same party ruling the country since independence but we have seen that the opposition have the chance to win at all levels of election and they are also able to form governments.

“So this is proof that Malaysia is a democracy because the opposition can actually win,” he said at the Malaysian Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (MAICSA) 50th anniversary lecture here.

Dr Mahathir said that democracy is a “great system” because it allows the public to elect and reject leaders at the polls but he felt that modern democracy has made governing difficult because many groups are claiming for their rights.

“People keep adding other things to democracy and make things very difficult. Over time, it has been rights of the majority, minority rights, human rights, and women’s rights. Everyone claiming for their rights has made governing difficult,” he said.

Dr Mahathir noted that being a dictator would have solved the issue of governance.

“If I had been a dictator then governance could have been easy. I could have just declared a decree and faced no opposition. But having accepted the democratic, one has to handle governance carefully. A lot of people are lined up against you.

“There will be people quite anxious to take over and willing to do gymnastics. There was a time when I was nearly toppled but fortunately I won by 43 votes so Tengku Razaleigh didn’t have the chance to be PM,” he said.

He also said that Malaysia’s democracy should not be influenced by Western values.

“I brought up a very nice chap who was very religious and groomed to be my successor. He wanted to be everything quickly as possible so he plotted against me. He did something which was not acceptable by us but very acceptable in Europe and the US. I don’t know what but you can guess what it is.

“In certain democracies, it is acceptable that marriages can be between man and man. They ask why should marriage only be between man and woman? I don’t think we should entertain that type of democracy in our country,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also urged the public to be more critical of the current administration.

“In some countries, the appointments of the Cabinet members are vetted by the members of Parliament.

“Unfortunately in Malaysia, we do not question whoever is chosen by the prime minister to be members in the Cabinet. We are very docile people, even we don’t question when there is something wrong. We keep very quiet and will complain very softly to your friend and will not say it loud. This is because by being very critical, it will affect you,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also stressed the importance of Barisan Nasional regaining its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

“During my time, we emphasised that we need for the government to have a strong majority. We must get a two-thirds majority so can we govern the country without being hampered by the opposition too much.

“They can obstruct you but they will not have the power to frustrate you completely. If you want to do something like when we had to amend the constitution to free the people from the royal family or rather by a raving Sultan,” he said.

He added that two-thirds majority in Parliament was important for balance of power in Parliament.

“Having two-thirds majority is important because it balances the power of dissent on the part of the opposition and the power of the government to carry out its job as the governing coalition. As prime minister, I have always been able to get the two-thirds majority,” he said.

BN, led by former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, lost its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority in Election 2008.

May 7, 2010

Tun Mahathir tells UMNO to put Malays first

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad articulated today a widely held sentiment in Umno — that going after the Chinese vote is risky and unproductive.

Instead, he appears to suggest in a posting on his blog today that Umno should first ensure that Malay interests are taken care of, especially in the face of what he called “attacks by the Chinese.”

“We hear a lot about demands by Chinese extremists questioning the provision of Malay special rights in the constitution, demanding an end to the NEP, [a] reduction of quotas for Malay students. They even say the Malays are also ‘kaum pendatang’ or immigrants. An article even claims that there is no such thing as a Malay race.

“Umno remained silent. In fact when an Umno member said that the Chinese and Indians are descendants of immigrants, he was suspended by Umno. It seems to many Malays that Umno is incapable of countering the attacks by Chinese extremists against Malays,” wrote Dr Mahathir.

His latest remarks are expected to put more pressure on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has been pushing his 1 Malaysia agenda to unite the country.

But while Najib has had mixed results in reaching out to Indian voters, the results of ten by-elections since Election 2008 showed Chinese voters have now become a solid vote bank for Pakatan Rakyat (PR).

Dr Mahathir warned today that Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) risked losing Malay support if they continued to introduce “Chinese-friendly” policies and abolishing affirmative-action measures under the New Economic Policy (NEP).

“The BN must remember that in the 2008 election it lost a lot of seats. Where it won the margins are very small. If a few hundred Malays decide not to vote BN, even the seats that it had won would be lost in the 13th General Election.

“Umno and the Government are facing a dilemma. In trying to win over the Chinese with allocations and abolishing New Economic Policy provisions, the BN will lose Malay support as indeed it did in 2008. On the other hand no matter how the Government try to satisfy Chinese demands, the Chinese have clearly rejected the BN,” said Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir also justified the existence of Perkasa as a reaction by Malays to what he suggests were the increasingly strident demands of Chinese voters.

“Perhaps it is because Perkasa appears to be racist that the Chinese are against BN. But Perkasa is not BN. Also the Chinese parties in BN are facing a crisis.

“What is happening now is that Malays are forming Non-Governmental Organisations because of Chinese attacks against the Malays and Umno seems unable to defend them.

He said that groups like Perkasa feel that they have to rebut “racist” statements by the Chinese.

“And when they do they are labelled as racists.”

May 4, 2010

Tun Mahathir joins call to reveal oil blocks pact

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today joined the opposition’s call to the Najib administration to reveal the agreement on ceding an oil-rich area in the South China Sea to Brunei.

The former prime minister last week accused his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of signing away rights to oil earnings worth up to RM320 billion to the sultanate for Limbang in Sarawak. Abdullah has denied the charge.

“Wisma Putra should make public the full contents of the agreement signed last year. When we give up what belongs to the people really, the people have a right to know,” Dr Mahathir wrote in his weblog today.

The maverick politician has clashed with Abdullah after handing over power in 2003, quitting Umno and only returning when Datuk Seri Najib Razak took office in April 2009.

“After all, Abdullah’s government made a point about being transparent, implying of course that the previous government was not transparent. So let us see transparency in this decision to surrender the people’s heritage. If as it is claimed we have not lost much, let us know how much is not much,” he said.

Dr Mahathir, an adviser to Petronas, said he was glad the national oil company will take part in the exploration and production of the two blocks “we surrendered to Brunei”.

“That still does not mean we will get much out of the deal.

“At the present price of US$83 per barrel (RM249), one billion barrels would yield US$83 billion or RM249 billion. Forget the likelihood that the oil price would increase in future, how much would we get from Petronas’ involvement in the production,” he said.

He also questioned what happened to the RM270 billion that Petronas paid to Abdullah’s government.

“His apologists will say that I am being petty, that I lost billions too. But concern over a total of over RM500 billion not accounted for or lost cannot be considered petty.

“The Malaysian public is very forgiving. When my questions are met with ‘elegant silence’, that is the end of the story,” he added.

Other opposition leaders have also asked Najib to explain the situation but the prime minister said the deal will be a “win-win” situation for both Malaysia and Brunei.

Apr 30, 2010

Former PM Badawi denies giving away oil rights

Former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has dismissed his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad's allegations that he had 'given away' two large oil rich areas to Brunei. In a statement late this afternoon, Abdullah said the resources in the 'Block L and M' oil-rich areas in the South China Sea referred to by Mahathir were now shared by Malaysia and Brunei under a territorial and commercial deal inked on March 16 last year. Although Block L and M were now the sovereign rights of Brunei, Malaysia will be allowed to participate in joint efforts to develop oil and gas resources there for 40 years. According to Abdullah, the deal was meant to resolve protracted land and maritime boundaries.

KUALA LUMPUR, April 30 — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi denied today that he signed away oil rights to Brunei after a scathing attack from his predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister issued a statement today denying Dr Mahathir’s accusation that he had given up RM320 billion in potential oil earnings in return for Brunei dropping its claim over Limbang in Sarawak.

Dr Mahathir had claimed Abdullah had given away Malaysia’s claim to oil offshore of Limbang following a trip to Bandar Seri Begawan in the waning days of his administration last year.

Abdullah said today that the areas known as Block L and Block M would be jointly developed by the two countries for a period of 40 years.

“The financial and operational modalities for giving effect to this arrangement will be further discussed by the two sides. This means that in so far as the oil and gas resources are concerned, the agreement is not a loss for Malaysia,” said Abdullah in his statement.

The country’s fifth prime minister clarified that his visit to Brunei which was made three weeks before his departure was aimed at solving a long standing border dispute “without any disadvantage for Malaysia.”

The visit resulted in an agreement between the two countries to establish a permanent land and sea boundary.

“This agreement serves to settle certain overlapping claims which existed in the past which included the area of the concession blocks known before as Block L and Block M. Sovereign rights to the resources in this area now belongs to Brunei.

“However, for this area the agreement includes a commercial arrangement under which Malaysia will be allowed to participate, on a commercial basis, to jointly develop the oil and gas resources in this area for a period of 40 years,” said Abdullah.

He added that he signed the agreement to solve a border dispute with Brunei with prior approval from the Cabinet.

“In my capacity as the Prime Minister of Malaysia, I signed the Exchange of Letters with the Sultan of Brunei after the Malaysian Cabinet approved the deal on 11 February 2009,” said Abdullah.

Earlier today both former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the DAP’s Lim Kit Siang demanded an explanation from Abdullah after news reports emerged last week suggesting Malaysia had signed away its oil rights.

Murphy Oil, which had entered a production-sharing contract with national oil company Petronas, for Block L and Block M offshore of Limbang, announced last week that it was ceasing operations because “it was no longer part of Malaysia.”

“Abdullah Badawi negotiated with the Sultan (of Brunei) to get back Limbang in Sarawak. In return he agreed to surrender the two blocks to Brunei. No Petronas representatives were present, only foreign office staff and the foreign affairs adviser to the PM,” Dr Mahathir had said in a posting on his blog yesterday.

Apr 29, 2010

Tun Mahathir tells MCA to drop 'extremist chinese'

KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today waded into the war of words between the MCA and Perkasa, telling his Barisan Nasional ally to rid itself of “extremist Chinese” before demanding Umno reject the Malay right-wing group.

The Chinese-based party blamed “organisations like Perkasa” for BN’s failure in recapturing the community’s support, especially in last Sunday’s Hulu Selangor by-election, with MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek condemning Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali for urging the government not to fulfil election pledges.

However, the former prime minister said Perkasa’s role was important because it ensured BN’s victory in the by-election.

“Maybe because of Perkasa, the Malay community voted for BN. If there is no Perkasa then BN would not have the Chinese or Malay votes,” Dr Mahathir told reporters after attending a lecture at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel here.

“If MCA wants Umno to distance itself from Perkasa, then MCA must distance themselves with extremist Chinese. Yes, there are lots of extremist Chinese. They even said that there are no people such as Malays,” he added.

In Sunday’s polls, MIC’s P. Kamalanathan secured a 1,725-vote majority win over PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim but failed to recapture votes from the Chinese community. BN only secured just over 20 per cent of the Chinese votes, down from the 35 per cent it had garnered during Election 2008.

Ibrahim has called the Chinese community “ungrateful” and urged the government to ignore demands made by the MCA and Gerakan as punishment for their failure to attract Chinese voters.

The Pasir Mas MP was criticised by Chinese leaders from both BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for what was described as a racist and insensitive statement.

Kamalanathan has also taken measures to distance himself from the outspoken leader.

Dr Mahathir explained that Perkasa was only defending the interest of the Malay community.

“If you look it is balanced because there are extremist Chinese groups that are saying there are no people such as Malays. This is why we say that racial issues should not be discussed publicly. One person says something and other person must reply. You say the other person is racist but they also say that you are racist.

“I also don’t think Perkasa is driving a wedge between the Barisan Nasional’s component parties because there are others who are saying things which cause Perkasa to reply,” the former Umno president said.

He stressed that while it was important for the government to recapture Chinese support it must not neglect the Malay community.

“Everybody’s support is important. If you have all the Chinese supporting and no Malay support then we will still lose. In this country, we must have everybody’s support,” he said.

Ibrahim, who was a deputy minister in the Mahathir administration, stirred up controversy again today when he asked Chinese voters in Hulu Selangor to repent after they received RM3 million for a school which the prime minister had pledged during the election campaign.

The Malay rights leader also demanded the Chinese voters be “grateful” for the donation and suggested that the Chinese may have been promised more than the Malays of Hulu Selangor.

Apr 25, 2010

Unofficial results: BN wins

KUALA KUBU BARU, April 25 — Barisan Nasional (BN) has won the Hulu Selangor by-election by more than 2,500 votes, according to unofficial results from the counting centre.

The Election Commission (EC) has not declared a winner yet but BN sources say their candidate — P Kamalanathan — has defeated Pakatan Rakyat's (PR) Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.

Tun Mahathir convinced BN will wrest Hulu Selangor

HULU SELANGOR, April 24 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed said tonight he is confident the constituents in Hulu Selangor will hand over victory back to the Barisan Nasional (BN) in the Hulu Selangor parliamentary by-election tomorrow.

He said that the people were not foolish in evaluating which was the better political party in championing their cause.

He also believed that if the BN were to emerge victorious in Hulu Selangor, it would be a sign that the BN would achieve a bigger win in the next general election.

He said the people also knew how to evaluate who Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was.

"I'm convinced that the electorate in Hulu Selangor know Anwar's intention which will not bring any benefit to the people and country except to become the prime minister," he said when addressing thousands of BN supporters at a gathering in Taman Bunga Raya, Bukit Beruntung, here tonight.

Also present were Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and BN candidate P. Kamalanathan.

Dr Mahathir also wanted the people to reject the two-party system suggested by the opposition as this would not bring any develoepment to the country as they would be busy politicking.

Apr 22, 2010

Home Ministry clears 'Malaysian Maverick' book

KUALA LUMPUR, April 22 — The authorities have cleared the controversial political biography of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for sale in the country.

Copies of “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times” have been held up in Port Klang while awaiting clearance from the Home Ministry.

Digital copies of the book, however, can be downloaded from the Internet.

The distributor was informed by the ministry of the clearance recently and the book is expected to go on sale next week.

It also plans to launch the book in Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

“We have always stood by the book which has been subject to peer review to ensure its academic rigour,” said Alexandra Webster, associate director of the publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, in a statement.

Written by Barry Wain, a former editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, the “Malaysian Maverick” has sold more than 12,500 copies in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Australia.

In Singapore, it has been on The Straits Times’ best-seller list for three months, with many copies being bought by Malaysians.

“We’ve been waiting for more than four months for the Malaysians to make a decision, and we’re extremely pleased they have given the book a clean bill of health,” said Wain in the same statement.

The book has been a subject of intense debate and discussion among politicians and critics of the fourth prime minister.

The book claims that Dr Mahathir had squandered an estimated RM100 billion of taxpayers’ money.

Dr Mahathir, who ran the country for 22 years, had said that he does not need any protection from the authorities and urged the government to release the book.

Just early this month, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told Parliament that the government was still reviewing the book before making any decision.

Apr 21, 2010

Tun Mahathir says Iran is important to us

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Petronas has the right to supply gasoline to Iran saying that the Gulf nation is an important trading partner .

“Initially when I read the report that Datuk Seri Najib had ordered Petronas to stop supplying gasoline to Iran I couldn’t understand it because Iran has a lot of gasoline, so I was disappointed,” said Dr Mahathir when asked about the suspension of Malaysia’s gasoline supply to Iran.

“But later Datuk Seri Najib denied that he had ordered the cancellation and he said it was purely a commercial deal. So it is Petronas’ right to sell to anybody,” he said at a press conference here.

Late last week, foreign news agencies reported the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirming that the national oil company has stopped supplying gasoline to Iran ahead of further global sanctions.

Najib denied the report a day later saying that the transaction was a one-off sale and there has been no new order.

His denial was followed by a statement from Petronas which stated that the decisions regarding the sales were based purely on commercial reasons.

Iran currently imports 40 per cent of its gasoline supplies due to the drop in investment in petroleum refineries in that country.

When it was pointed out that Iran is facing possible international sanctions over its controversial nuclear programme, Dr Mahathir dismissed it as another example of the oppressive foreign policy of the United States.

“The international sanctions is an American job. A lot of countries do not approve of the sanctions. China is still trading with Iran and so is Russia. If it is ‘international’ [then] all countries would have to adhere to it,” said Dr Mahathir.

“This is how America oppresses the others. If people die, like the sanction if Iraq where 500,000 children died, they said it’s alright. This was what Madeline Albright said,” he added referring to the former Secretary of State in the late 1990s.

Tun Mahathir : Anwar supports only those who want him to be PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would back only those who support him to become prime minister.

He said one would know whether Anwar was really a nationalist when one became closer to him.

"I believe the closer you are to him, the more you understand his personality. Is Anwar a nationalist? Actually, he's just fighting to become prime minister. If someone can support him to be prime minister; doesn't matter whether he's a Chinese, Hindu or whatever, he will support that person. That's why he supported Hindraf."

Dr Mahathir, who is Perkim (Malaysia Muslim Welfare Organisation) president, said this after attending a conference with religious teachers under the Education Ministry and Perkim members, here, today.

According to him, the withdrawal of some of Anwar's close allies from PKR showed that they eventually realised his true personality.

Dr Mahathir cited the case of Prof Dr Chandra Muzaffar who quit as PKR deputy president, while Zainul Zakaria, Anwar's lawyer in his sodomy case, withdrew from representing him.

The latest development was that Anwar's personal doctor and Hulu Selangor PKR division treasurer, Datuk Dr Halili Rahmat, announced yesterday that he quit the party, saying that PKR had deviated from its original struggle since its founding in 1999.

On the allegation against Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, the PKR candidate in the Hulu Selangor by-electon, that he was a drinker, Dr Mahathir said such an allegation was unavoidable.

"All is fair in love and war, and in the election. I was also a victim of various allegations... that I had a Chinese wife... had a wife in Singapore. This is politics. So, those who hear the allegations, should make their own evaluation."

Asked whether the personal attacks (against Zaid) could give Barisan Nasional a win, Dr Mahathir said: "May be, may be not. It's up to the voters."

In another development, Dr Mahathir said trade ties between Malaysia and Iran could be affected if Petronas was forbidden to supply gasoline to Iran.

"Datuk Seri Najib (prime minister) denied he disallowed (Petronas). This is a commercial deal. It's Petronas' right to sell the fuel to whoever," he said.

The foreign media had earlier reported Najib as saying that Malaysia had stopped supplying gasoline to Iran, but the purported statement was refuted by the prime minister and said that it was merely a commercial transaction.

Asked about formal sex education for the young, Dr Mahathir said it was not necessary as it was already part of Islamic Studies and Moral Education taught in schools.

He said what was important was to make students understand and teach them how to control their desires, so so to prevent unwanted pregnancies and throwing away of unwanted babies at rubbish dumps and elsewhere.

Apr 20, 2010

Tun Mahathir : All’s fair in love, war and elections

KUALA LUMPUR, April 20 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the smear campaign against PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim in the Hulu Selangor by-election cannot be avoided.

“In English they say all is fair in love and war and in election,” he said when asked if it was right for Barisan Nasional (BN) to exploit Zaid’s past drinking habit in the campaign for the rural constituncy.

“I was subjected to many allegations too. Some people said I have a Chinese wife, that I have a wife in Singapore,” said Dr Mahathir who led the ruling coalition until his retirement in late 2003.

The former prime minister however was unsure if the tactic would help BN in recapturing the seat that it lost in Election 2008 by a slim majority of 198 votes.

“Maybe, maybe not,” he said when asked whether the smear campaign would benefit BN.

The BN campaigners in the April 25 by-election have called on voters to reject Zaid because of his habit.

At an Umno Youth-organised public rally last weekend, the party speakers accused the former Kota Baru MP of having a mini bar at home and drinks regularly despite party vice-president Datuk Hishammddin Hussein’s attempt to distance the party from the smear campaign.

Pictures, believed to have been doctored, of Zaid drinking have also made their appearance in Malay-majority areas in the rural federal constituency.

The former law minister had admitted to consuming alcohol in the past but said he had repented and hoped that all parties will focus on major national issues.

In retaliation, Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters have started publishing pictures on the Internet, of what they claimed to be of Umno leaders, Hishammuddin and Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin with alcoholic drinks.

The personal attacks from both sides appear to be an attempt to win the Malay votes, which will decide the outcome of this election.

This Friday PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat will speak at a rally in the constituency to win the Malay votes which form more than half of the 64,500 Hulu Selangor voters.