The irony of what goes around, comes around is reflective when former MP for Benut and key personality of the Group of 25 (G25) Mohd. Tawfik Tun Dr. Ismail criticised Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for what the former termed as “Betrayal of trust” and “Malaysians now paying for mistakes made in his administration”.
The Malay Mail Online:
Dr M betrayed trust of Malaysians when he was PM, Tawfik Ismail says
Thursday November 12, 2015
10:28 AM GMT+8
In an interview with a local daily published today, G25 member Tawfik Ismail said that Malaysians were now ‘paying’ for the mistakes made during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s administration. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has no right to talk about trust as he had betrayed the trust of Malaysians with his unilateral actions during his time as prime minister, Tawfik Ismail has said.
In an interview with the News Straits Times published today, the son of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman said that Malaysians were now “paying” for the mistakes made during Dr Mahathir’s administration.
“So, I think he shouldn’t be talking about trust. In terms of his ability to do good and keep the trust of the people, I think he has failed in many ways,” Tawfik reportedly said.
An example of this, he said, was when Dr Mahathir had allowed Umno to be declared unlawful so that it could be reconstituted to exclude and include some personalities.
“He damaged the judiciary (the Malaysian constitutional crisis) and that is a big betrayal. Now, the judiciary cannot act as independently as it had before the late (former Lord President) Tun Salleh Abas’ episode,” Tawfik was quoted saying further.
Tawfik also blamed Dr Mahathir for the recent toll hikes, saying that the former prime minister had allowed and legitimised a non-transparent way of running things.
“Whose fault is that? Who made the initial agreement between the government and concessionaires?” he asked.
In an interview with news portal The Malaysian Insider recently, Tawfik blamed Dr Mahathir and his policies for the rapid Islamisation of the country and for creating racial tension.
In response, Dr Mahathir said Tawfik’s remarks were made in bad taste and stemmed from the G25 member’s personal dislike toward him.
“He’s entitled to say what he likes. I know he doesn’t like me, why he has come see me with others is beyond me,” he said.
These are post engagement remarks after the recent meeting where the latter tried to rope in G25 in his fight to topple Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak. Tawfik is the eldest son of one of the nation’s founding fathers and Second Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister during the 13 May racial incident, Tun Dr. Ismail b. Abdul Rahman.
The Star story:
Published: Sunday November 8, 2015 MYT 2:26:00 PM
Updated: Sunday November 8, 2015 MYT 2:53:03 PM
‘Dr Mahathir, Muhyiddin sought G25 support to replace Najib’
BY AKIL YUNUS
PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin met the group of eminent Malays (G25) to seek their support in changing the country’s leadership, a member of the group revealed.
Tawfik Ismail (pix), who is the son of Malaysia’s second deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, said G25 met the two leaders separately where the topic of replacing Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was raised.
He said the group, however, refused to get involved as they wished to remain non-partisan and were not convinced that Najib’s replacement would fare any better.
“We first met Dr Mahathir earlier this year to discuss Islam and the constitution when he broached the subject of a change in leadership.
“I countered by saying: what makes him think replacing Najib would be any better? At that time, Muhyiddin was still deputy prime minister,” he told The Star Online Sunday.
Tawfik said a confrontation transpired between them at the meeting when Dr Mahathir criticised Najib over his involvement in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, prompting him to point out the former prime minister’s own failings.
He revealed that a meeting then took place with Muhyiddin in October, three months after he was dropped from the Cabinet.
“It was our first meeting with Muhyiddin, and there were 12 of us (G25 members) there. He asked us how he could assist a ‘movement’ that G25 could be involved in.
“We told him we did not think that he and Dr Mahathir were the right people to fight Najib because they carried baggage with them.
“In terms of credibility, how can they portray themselves to be any better?” said Tawfik.
He said the group met Dr Mahathir for a second time on the afternoon of Oct 12, just after the former premier held a press conference with other veteran Barisan Nasional leaders, including Muhyiddin, to slam the use of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 on political critics.
“Four of us went for the meeting where Dr Mahathir asked if the G25 was prepared to make a joint-statement with a Chinese group to talk about concerns regarding business confidence and economic uncertainty.
“We said we didn’t want to make it a race thing – where a Malay and Chinese group get together. What about other racial groups?” he asked.
Tawfik said that G25 instead proposed bringing in East Malaysia and approaching the issue as a national force, as well as exploring the national consultative council idea mooted by Najib’s brother, Datuk Seri Nazir Razak.
“We didn’t give him (Dr Mahathir) what he wanted because we wanted to play the national card,” he said.
The former Umno lawmaker said G25 still regarded Najib as the best person to lead the country as he was a moderate by nature.
“The Prime Minister is under siege now because of strong right-wing elements within Umno, and they are the ones stifling his moderate stance.
“But being the son of Tun Abdul Razak and a Western-educated politician, it is quite unlikely he is right-wing himself. We have to seek out the moderate quality inside him and strengthen it for the betterment of the nation,” Tawfik added.
Muhyiddin and Dr Mahathir’s camp could not be immediately reached for a response.
The group of liberal “Prominent Malays” who comprises mostly retired senior civil servants complained on a few issues, which include the administration of Islam in Malaysia.
Tun Dr. Mahathir complained that Tawfik ‘Never liked him’.
The Star story:
Published: Thursday November 12, 2015 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday November 12, 2015 MYT 7:18:56 AM
Dr M: Tawfik never liked me
BY AKIL YUNUS
Making a point: Mahathir delivering his keynote address at the second annual Malaysia’s War On Corruption Symposium.
Making a point: Mahathir delivering his keynote address at the second annual Malaysia’s War On Corruption Symposium.
KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was not surprised that G25 member Tawfik Ismail had spoken out against his suggestion to replace the Prime Minister, as the former politician has never liked him.
However, he said Tawfik was “entitled to say what he liked”, and that his views did not represent the stand of G25, a group of prominent Malays espousing moderate values.
“Why he should come to see me with the others in the group is beyond me. Obviously he’s come with bad intentions.
“In front of me, he even appeared to be supportive but behind me is another matter,” the former prime minister told reporters after delivering a keynote address at the second annual Malaysia’s War on Corruption Symposium yesterday.
Dr Mahathir also admitted to mooting the idea of a “council of elders” to advise the Prime Minister after Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as it would allow him to listen to different opinions.
He said this was because under the current system the prime minister chose his own Cabinet and would pick those who supported his decisions all the time.
“Whatever the prime minister does will be okayed by the Cabinet.
“If there is an outside council appointed by other people, they may not agree with him all the time.
“They can give their opinions, which the PM may not necessarily accept, but at least it will allow him to hear other opinions,” the former premier said without elaborating how the council would function.
Tawfik, who is the son of the second deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, said in a recent interview that the G25 had met with Dr Mahathir on two separate occasions this year.
He had said during the first meeting the topic of replacing Najib was raised and that he had responded by saying that the group did not wish to get involved and felt that whoever was to take over would not fare any better.
This prompted Dr Mahathir to suggest that a council of elders would “guide” whoever was appointed next.
What is interesting is that Malaysiakini reported that Tun Dr. Mahathir said ‘Tawfik came will ill intent”.
Tawfik G25 tak boleh dipercayai, kata Dr Mahathir
Kow Gah Chie 2015-11-11 15:00:00 2015-11-11 15:34:46
Bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hari ini menyifatkan ahli Tokoh Melayu Terkemuka (G25) Tawfik Ismail sebagai seorang yang “tidak boleh dipercayai” dan mempunyai “niat jahat”.
Katanya, beliau hairan dengan niat Tawfik untuk kumpulan itu berjumpa dengannya sedangkan anak kedua bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman itu tidak menyukainya.
“Jika dia tak suka saya, saya hairan mengapa mereka (G25) datang jumpa saya. Tentu sekali dia datang dengan niat jahat dan kita tidak boleh mempercayai orang jenis ini.
“Di depan saya, dia sangat baik, seolah-olah menyokong. Tetapi di belakang, ia perkara berbeza,” bidas Mahathir.
Dalam temu bual baru-baru ini, Tawfik mendakwa Mahathir dan bekas Timbalan Perdana Menteri Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin bertemu dengan G25 bagi mendapatkan sokongan dalam usaha cuba menumbangkan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Tetapi Tawfik berkata permintaan kedua-dua mereka ditolak oleh G25, sebuah kumpulan tidak terlibat dalam politik.
Tawfik pada wawancara itu juga mengakui bahawa Najib adalah pemimpin terbaik untuk menerajui negara kerana sifat kesederhaana beliau secara semula jadi.
Dr Mahahir juga mengesahkan beliau mencadangkan penubuhan sebuah majlis yang dianggotai orang yang lebih berumur bagi membimbing perdana menteri dalam menerajui kerajaan.
Katanya, beliau membuat cadangan itu kepada G25, kerana Kabinet mungkin akan memberi lampu hijau berhubung semua keputusan perdana menteri.
“Dalam sistem yang kita ada sekarang, perdana menteri memilih Kabinet sendiri, dan dia memilih orang yang akan menyokong beliau sepanjang masa.
“Dan sudah tentu itu bermaksud, apa saja yang dia lakukan akan diterima baik Kabinet.
“Sebaliknya, sebuah majlis luar yang dilantik orang lain tidak akan bersetuju dengan perdana menteri sepanjang masa. Mereka boleh memberi pendapat mereka.
“Mungkin perdana menteri tidak akan menerimanya, tetapi sekurang-kurangnya dia akan mendengar pendapat lain,” kata Mahathir lagi.
It is obvious that Tun Dr. Mahathir is irritated about the interview where Tawfik divulged that the G25 met twice the Fourth Prime Minister. Probably he expected Tawfik kept their discussions off-line since they met privately.
Then again, the Fourth Prime Minister should not react if Tawfik choose to bring out in the open about their discussions. In May at an event in Ipoh, he divulged the private discussion with the Speaker of Dewan Rakyat Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia.
Part of which, the buzz about him commenting that JAKIM should be dissolved, after Tawfik raised the liberals’ concern on the Islamic Religious Department’s authority and actions.
The Sun story:
Tun M: A council of elders should guide the prime minister in leading the country
Posted on 11 November 2015 – 04:39pm
Last updated on 12 November 2015 – 12:02am
Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the press conference after the opening of Malaysian War on Corruption Symposium 2015 at Kuala Lumpur. SUNPIX by ASYRAF RASID
KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier, Tun Dr Mahahir Mohamad (pix) today said he suggested to the G25 group of prominent Malays that a council of elders be formed to guide the prime minister in leading the country.
He said he made the suggestion as he deemed it necessary considering the Cabinet would probably give the green light to all of Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak’s decisions.
“We need an outside council who will not simply nod their head to everything the prime minister says. Though he may not accept their views, at least he could consider what they say,” he told a press conference after the Malaysian War on Corruption Symposium.
Dr Mahathir also said that he was prepared to face the consequences of having spoken out against the leadership.
“When you stick out your neck, be prepared to have it chopped off,” he said, adding that he did not care what others thought of him and that he would continue to speak out if he felt there was something wrong.
He said this was a democratic country where freedom of speech was practiced.
“I will have my say. The moment I mention the premier should be changed, it is a crime … under which laws?” he asked.
Last Friday, police recorded Dr Mahathir’s statement at his office in Kuala Lumpur over his criticism of the prime minister.
On another issue, Dr Mahathir said the courts should accept an individual’s lavish lifestyle such as owning many luxurious cars as evidence of corruption.
“If you want to detect corruption at the highest level, look at the person’s lifestyle. The courts here should accept the evidence of lavish lifestyle as enough to reveal that someone was corrupt. This way, there will be less chances of people in high places becoming corrupt,” he said.
However, he said Malaysians were very tolerant of corrupt people in “high places”, and warned that more money will be lost if this was ignored.
Asked on the relevance of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), Dr Mahathir said people in a democratic country should be allowed to set up or remove any government department or agency as they wished.
“If the people want to get rid of Jakim, they can. This is a democratic country, they can even stop supporting the government. That’s it,” he said.
In a recent interview with The Malaysian Insider, Tawfik Ismail (eldest son of former deputy prime minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman) had said that Jakim should be dissolved as other institutions already existing could carry out its functions.
Responding to a statement by social activist Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan that she was willing to work with him if he agreed to change the country’s system of government, he said his priority is to change the Prime Minister and not Umno and the system.
“As far as I’m concerned, I think unless the leadership is changed, don’t expect any changes.
“Umno was set up to struggle for independence and was led by very good people.
“The problem is when corrupted people join the party to get something out of Umno,” he said.
On his preferred candidate, Dr Mahathir said the new prime minister should be an honest person.
“Umno should keep an open attitude to accept capable new blood. Umno is not open to new members because the old members do not want to be challenged by capable people,” he added.
There are some contradiction to these statements.
First of all, Tun Dr. Mahathir wanted a “Council of Elders” to “Guide the Prime Minister in leading the country”. The first question that zooms into the average man on the street mind, “Is this Council of Elders” a formal body or informal forum?
If it is a formal body, it is neither provided in the Federal Constitution nor Barisan Nasional’s or UMNO’s Constitution.
So how would this new “Council of Elders” be properly instituted?
Barisan Nasional is to get all component parties AGM to agree that amendments be made to the BN Constitution? UMNO General Assembly is to make amendments to the UMNO Constitution? Or Constitutional amendments where Parliament is to decide on a new struture of Government?
Secondly, could the Council of Rulers be the “Council of Elders”? There is already in existence and practice of a body of brethren of HRH Rulers and His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong, which meet ever so often and discuss and decide on very strategic matters such as appointment of Judges, Chief Judges, Chief Justice and Chief of Defence Forces.
Thirdly, if the “Council of Elders” is not as high up as the brethren of HRH Rulers “To guide the Prime Minister in leading the country”, when which segment of society should this council be filled with?
Statesman and senior politicians? Retired senior judges? Retired senior civil servants? Retired clergymen?
Fourth point is the interesting bit. If the “Council of Elders” should comprise of Statesman and retired senior politicians, who are the probable personalities that should be in there?
Of course Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad would be top on the very short list. Then again, who else in the cohort of Statesmen and retired senior politicians should be there?
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi? Tun Musa Hitam? Tun Dr. Ling Liong Sik? Tan Koon Swan? Dr Chua Soi Lek? Tan Sri Samy Vellu? Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon? Tan Sri Sanusi Junid? Tan Sri Ghani Othman? Tan Sri Muhamad Muhamad Taib?
The very notion of Dr. Mahathir, Abdullah, Musa, Samy and Koh sitting on a table taking about politics and be together on the ‘guidance and advice for the Executive’ itself is a fail idea from the moment of thought, let alone to get it implemented.
The conflicting of opinion and failure to get understanding between and within the “Council of Elders” is already is strong reason for idea is a failure from the start.
Fifth point, if the Prime Minister of Malaysia is subjected to “Guidance and advice of the Council of Elders in leading the country” and the “Council of Elders” comprise of retired senior judges and civil servants, then what is the role and function of the two augur houses of Parliament?
The Prime Minister of Malaysia is already answerable to Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara for issues raised and bills before passed and enacted. On top of that, before the weekly Cabinet, the Prime Minister is compelled to present himself to His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang DiPertuan Agong.
The Sixth point the Prime Minister is already working through several different set of forums. First, there is the Cabinet which is already enlarged and comprises of all the representatives of community. The Cabinet is supported by each Ministry’s own list of departments, agencies and GLCs.
There is the Barisan Nasional High Council, which comprises of all the component parties. Then there is also the UMNO Supreme Council.
The Prime Minister also holds regular meetings with all the Menteri Besars and Chief Ministers.
These separate forums are already more than adequate provide the Prime Minister the necessary “Guidance to lead the country”.
There are so many historical facts to contradict this last statement by the Fourth Prime Minister and Fifth UMNO President. In his tenure of 22 years, 3 months and 15 days, his administration was plagued with the various allegations and notions of corruption and abuse of power, undemocratic practices, gerry maundering and the list is long.
It is pointless to raise and argue each or even the more glaring of the lot. It is suffice to say he was faced with so many controversies and challenges and he acted against each of them, with the method and approach he saw fit in the circumstances then.
Some worked and others backfired. Malaysia lived with some of the darker legacies of those.
The point without being too contentious is that situation, attitude, approach, acceptance, expectations and perception evolved.
He Statesman should be honest enough to let things ago and take its natural path with the movement of time and let the present generation decide without him being a part of the process of making the decision, on the angle and track he saw fit.
History has clearly demonstrated that Tun Dr. Mahathir as an UMNO man, disregarded and opposed openly and waged wars against three different UMNO Presidents and Prime Ministers.
Needless to say he was a very remarkable Prime Minister and brought Malaysia to unimaginable heights in his tenure. However, his thoughts how things should be done and challenges of the day could be different in the variables of the equation, from he time he was in charge.
The challenges and permutation of variables to be sorted out of the present day have never been seen before. The global economic crisis, the global geo-political crisis and brewing, the global ‘Islamic State’ (IS) and ‘Jemaah Islamiyah’ terrorism, the growing global demand for individualism Vs the majority are some of the issues the government of the day has to sort out.
Prime Minister Najib’s adminsitration is trying to provide the balance of the need for growing Federal Government budget in the challenges of reduced earning form oil and gas, incremental public expenditure especially open spending, continued and balanced development program and reducing the deficit.
This is on top of maintaining economic growth and trade surplus, promoting trade and ensuring efficiency and productivity, in line with the Government and economic transformation programs.
Security and threat is bigger problem now even when at the tail end of fighting communism insurgency.
Thirty years ago next week, the Malaysian Government faces Islamic extremists in the form of Ibrahim Libya and his small band of militants where on 19 November 1985, the armed clash with the Royal Malaysian Police saw 14 of the “Jihadists” died and four Policemen killed in line of duty in a village called Memali, off Baling, Kedah.
Today, the Police already arrested 125 persons including 11 serving personnel of the Malaysian Armed Forces for activities related to ‘IS’. The threat of bandits and piracy of the coast of East Sabah and coastal waters surrounding Johor is very much clear and present danger.
Malaysians should never forget the the Lahad Datu Incident a little over 33 months ago where nine Policemen and a soldier were killed in action and 66 bandits were killed in the terrorism incursion.
Twenty eight years ago, 106 persons were arrested under the dreaded Internal Security Act (ISA) in one swoop on 27 Oct 1987. Majority amongst them are Opposition politicians. Four newspapers’ licenses were also revoked.
International vice syndicate of drug and human trafficking and money laundering and organised crimes are real thorny issues the Malaysian law enforcement agencies biggest nightmare.
The unwillingness to let go and do on with seeming not well thought through propositions, statements and reactions so far only contribute to confusion, the rakyat being ridiculed, the expansion and chronic discussion about distrust against the government and system, and eventually, mayhem.