Tun Dr. Mahathir on Hardtalk: “He (PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah) is making use of the system in the worsts ways!”

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad today described PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as “Making a political move, a very unpopular man trying to do something ‘right’”. “He is making use of the system in the worst ways”, when reacting to the suggestion of the Prime Minister attempting to “make good against the Judiciary”, which purportedly was damaged during the former’s time.

Talking to Stephen Sackur in a BBC “Hardtalk” first aired this afternoon, who described him as “A personified fellow and opponents call him a ‘Dictator and Racist’ ”. The program was taped in London on Friday, 18 April 2008. This was his first interview on air in a foreign media since the 12th Malaysia General Elections on 8 March 2008.

He said “Results of the GE show former supporters of the ruling party (BN), voted Oppositions, not because they liked them!”. When asked for the reason, the stern response was “The Government promised to remove corruption but they themselves are corrupt”. He also explained that PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah must go now because the next leader needed time to revive the party and the support and unless there are changes, then this might be the beginning of the end of BN.

On the New Economic Policy, “It was a system initiated by my predecessors. The system worked for the past 50 years, and had worked very well. It was to correct the imbalance created since the British days”. Sackur asked about “The real discontent” from different ethic groups in the country and charged, Malaysia, especially during Tun Dr. Mahathir’s time, practiced racial-biased policies. Sackur remarked that the NEP is no longer relevant, nor acceptable. He even quoted Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement. The former Prime Minister’s response was “Malaysia is built for all. Everyone is prosperous. All benefited from the Government policies and progressed. Why only now and not during my time?”.

Then Sackur charged if people were to voice out against him then, they would be arrested. “Hundreds of people were arrested?”, Tun Dr. Mahathir’s instant response, “Who are they?” and vehemently contradicted the host with “The first thing I did as the Prime Minister, was to release many political detainees”. He then added that foreign media is fond of making up these stories and end up propagating them as “the truth”. “Tell me who are the hundreds who I have put in prison (for political reason)?”.

In the case of Anwar Ibrahim, when asked to comment about having the support of many, and even BN MPs are ready to defect, and wanted to make changes in the system, including racially-based policies, “He is welcomed to do that, when he becomes the PM” and added, “The present leadership should be blamed for losing the support of the BN MPs”.

On issues raised by Anwar, which is favourable to the minority groups “Now, there is an opportunity for him. He was in Government before. He did not complain”. Then the issue about his arrest and conviction was trumped up and now proposing that the former regretted on that episode, “Why should I regret? He was arrested under the laws of the country, tried under the laws of the country and locked up for abuse of power. This is accordance to the Malaysian law”. Sackur then added that Anwar wanted to do a full and thorough public inquiry for all of Tun Dr. Mahathir’s wrong doings in the 22 years in office. He responded with sarcasm, “Let’s see if he can obtain a fully impartial inquiry. Probably he can get foreigners”.

When responding to Sackur’s list of Western report of unfair trial for Anwar, Tun Dr. Mahathir asked in return “What are the track record of these countries? These are the sort of people who arrest people without law and trial, like Guantanamo Bay”. Then, the issue was raised about the use of the Internal Security Act, which was put in place as an Emergency Ordinance by the British. “We did it under the law of the country. We needed to prevent people from causing racial riot and disharmony”. He later elaborated on Malaysia being multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.

On the Judiciary, relating to the issue involving a video with lawyer V K Lingam purportedly talking on the phone and mentioning Tun Dr. Mahathir’s name, “This man had his video taken because he was defending me. This man was defending me, and Anwar is the one who released this tape. Anwar wanted to blackmail him!”.

On the move by PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah making ex-gratia payments to dismissed Lord President Tun Mohamed Salleh Abas and five Supreme Court Judges, “A political move by a very unpopular man, trying to do “something right”. He is not dismantling the system. He is making use of the system in worst ways!”. What he did not say was, none of the members of the bench attended the Bar Council dinner where PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah made the announcement.

About the appointment of PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah, Tun Dr. Mahathir explained that the former seemed ‘clean’ and ‘pious’ when he was appointed as the successor, even though he did not have the bigger support as the Vice President of UMNO. “We all made mistakes. Just like the British people made a mistake by putting a liar like Blair to power”.

The debate continued towards democracy. He elaborated that democracy has to be fully understood and used with the right intention, otherwise, it can turn into anarchy. He also quoted that many earlier civilizations did not practice democracy and they turned out to be great. “Democracy is good when the leader is good”. He reminded that “It was a leader of a democratic country who dropped atomic bombs”.

Sackur then charged him as being ‘Anti-Semitic’ and the instant response was “Anti-semitism is something created by the Jews themselves”. He then related to the earlier issue of democracy. “There are journalists who were arrested for talking about and against the Holocaust. Where is the ‘Freedom of Press’ then?”. He also explained on the quote from his speech “The Jews rule the world by proxy”, with “The United States allowing the Israelis to do anything they want”.

The interview was ended when he was asked, whether he will continue to attack the Leadership and Government and whether “It’s time for you to be quiet”. His response, with the typical smirk, “Why should I be quiet, when they are doing something wrong to my country?”.

The wide ranging 30-minute program, was a really good interview, indeed.

*Updated on 6.20pm

The interview can now be viewed on the BBC.com Hardtalk page.

*Updated on 12.10am Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Bernama.com report on the program:

April 22, 2008 00:02 AM

Dr Mahathir: I’m Not Anti-Western But Will Point Out Their Wrongdoings

KUALA LUMPUR, April 21 (Bernama) — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that he is not anti-Western but will continue to speak up about their wrongdoings against other people.

“I am not anti-western, I’m against the bad things done by the western countries,” he said.

He said the Westerners, especially the British, had given the Malays many negative labels like lazy and incompetent, and expected them to like it.

He stressed that therefore, the Western people should also be ready to hear what others think of them.

“The British used to call us lazy Malays, incompetent Malays, untrustworthy Malays. We couldn’t say a thing about you, so when I was in a position to say what I think about you, and then said it, you don’t like it. When you say it to us, you expect us to like it, we don’t like it but we don’t have a way for our voice to be heard,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said this during an interview in “Hard Talk” aired by BBC in London, Monday.

He admitted saying that Anglo-Saxon Europeans were proponents of war, slavery and the holocaust.

“Which is true… I am stating a fact. This is their character and I will continue to say so,” he said.

On democracy, Dr Mahathir defended the brand of the system being practised in Malaysia.

“It is not necessary that the system will work for everybody, but if they have a bad leader, even a democratic system will fail.

“You must remember that it is a democratic country that dropped the atomic bombs killing more than 200,000 people,” he said.

He said if one were to look at the history of the West, they would find that the Westerners normally came up with all kinds of ideologies.

“They used it for some time and then they found it to be defective. They dump it and they start on another. One day, they are going to forget about democracy because in some countries, democracy usually ends up with anarchy, and there is practically no government,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said democracy was not a system that could fit everybody.

“You must have a certain understanding of the limitation of democracy in order for it to work,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was also asked to comment on the recent general election result where the ruling party lost five wealthy states to the opposition coalition allegedly due to the racial division pursued by him during his tenure.

“I know that was a wishful thinking on the part of foreign critics but the fact is that in this election result, it is due to the dissatisfaction on the part of the ruling party’s supporters with the present decisions,” he said.

He also defended the implementation of the New Economic Policy which was said to be the cause of the loss, saying that it was a necessary step to correct the imbalances that existed since the British days.

On questions regarding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr Mahathir said if Anwar were to become the new Prime Minister, he was welcomed to conduct a full and thorough inquiry on his (Dr Mahathir’s) so-called misdeeds.

“Well, he is welcomed to do so, but I hope that he finds people who are neutral, who are impartial, probably foreigners because I don’t trust people they are putting in charge of the people they don’t like,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was also asked whether he regretted what he did to Anwar.

“Why should I regret, he was arrested under the laws of the country, he was tried and sentenced by the court, if he was not wrong, I don’t think no matter what you think about the our judiciary, I don’t think he would have been sentenced to prison,” he said.

On the judicial system in Malaysia, Dr Mahathir vehemently denied that he appointed judges in the Supreme Court and stressed that he always had faith in the system.

“I didn’t appoint the judges, the judges were recommended by the chief justice, and my duty is to check whether they had any record or not, and after that it was presented to the King who then appoint the judges,” he explained.

He also commented the move by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to apologise and offering monetary compensation to judges removed during his time as “a political move”.

“It’s a political move, something a man who is very unpopular now wanting to show that he has to do something right,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also accused Abdullah of making use of the system in the worst possible way.

“Nobody can say anything against him, he has newspapers who duly report about him and how great he is, and he was misled by his own supporters into believing that he would win big in the recent election,” he said.

Asked why he choose Abdullah as his predecessor, Dr Mahathir said, “These people, they are very smart in hiding their true character, he was known as Mr Clean and I thought I should appoint a clean person to succeed me… although he was not the one with the highest votes (as vice president) in the party but I thought that he was older and I appointed him thinking that he is not going to do anything very wrong, but this man gives greater priority to his family rather than to the country.”

Dr Mahathir admitted openly in the talkshow that it was “a fundamental

lack of judgment on his part” to appoint Abdullah as the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

He was also asked why he could not keep quiet after he retired.

“Why should I, they are doing something very bad to my country and I should not let it happen.

“I would be irresponsible if I do that,” he added.

— BERNAMA

Published in: on April 21, 2008 at 16:53  Comments (143)