Thursday, June 08, 2006


Malaysiankini Headlines on his outburst
Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is taking every opportunity to vent his frustration and his sense of “powerlessness” after being in the helm of power for so long. In the days gone by, he could have snapped his fingers, and things started to move. Nowadays all he can do is shouting and make noise. So in a press conference to announce the 'Perdana Global Peace Forum - The Middle East Agenda' on June 22 he again used the occasion to make some scathing remarks against the present leadership of PM Ahmad Abdullah.
Tun Dr Mahathir should keep his big mouth shut and let the present PM to carry on with his vision. It's not proper for the former PM to comment on the present PM.
During his time, he had his way and dominated in the entire decision making process. His ministers then out of deference to him as a leader kept the distance and respect his views and became “yes” men. Now that he is out of the way, they too would like to do things in their own way and in the process would be seen to be helping their own “gang” and cronies. This in a way is a trapping of power.

The following is a gist of the Q & A after the short press conference.
Question: Can you describe your relationship with the present government?
Mahathir: Well, when I decided to step down, I gave an undertaking that I will not involve myself in politics that I would not interfere with the government. On the other hand, of course, there were certain things promised that should be done by the incoming government, but the incoming government not only did not do what was promised, but in fact, the incoming government reversed many of the decisions made while the leader in the incoming government was in still in the (previous) government.
There were no objections, and we agreed fully with all the proposals. And I had (the promise) that they would be carried out. I understand, of course, that new leaders want to make an impact and make their mark during their period in power. But what was undertaken before should be carried out – new things can be introduced.
So the decision not to keep to the promises was not mine. I tolerated this for as much as possible including the charge that I finished all of the government's money, that the government was bankrupt and couldn't have any more projects.
I kept quiet but when something that is done that is really harmful, I think I would be failing my duty as an ordinary citizen and as ex-PM if I don't direct attention to these matters. As I said, I was not the one who first broke the promise [...] of course, I made my undertaking publicly, the leader of the new government did not, but the fact is that promises had been made on both sides.
So if I have to comment, I think I have the right to comment. Presently, I support the government, but if they do what I consider to be wrong and nobody seems to be able to voice their opposition than I will have to stick my neck out. Sticking my neck out is very familiar with me. I've done it many times within the country and outside. So I will again stick my neck out for it to be chopped.
Are you regretting that you quit?
No, one cannot tell exactly what a person would do after he is out of your control. So I thought I made a good choice. I wouldn't know if I had picked somebody else, these things would not happen. If I choose someone else, also it might very well happen.
But I feel I have a duty to point out wrong things being done. Like Singapore must approve what we do in our territory - that I can't accept. Abuse of APs (approved permits), selling something we bought for 500 million dollars and selling (it) for RM4. These things are wrong but nobody seems to be able to say anything on these things. I don't know why.
Your biggest blunder?
I have made many blunders in my career. I have helped many people up only for them to stab me in the back. So, it is a common trait for me. I'm in the habit of choosing the wrong people. But the present government can do a good job if they want to. The means are there but if they come under the influence of people who have other agendas, then I can't help.
Who are you referring to?
It is up to the press to know. You know more than I do.
During your time, the media was controlled and constrained?
During my time, the press was quite free. I admit there were certain restrictions because we live in a multiracial society where there are a lot of sensitivities. So we tell them, don't stir racial hatred or we'll take action against them. You must remember many newspapers printed in the country have not complained to me about being censored.
If you read, Harakah and Rocket condemn me all the time - they break the law as distribution was for members. I did not act on them as they do not stir racial hatred. We don't just do it just because they say my nose is big – it’s alright. Lat makes cartoon of me all the time, I never objected. (The) vernacular press also condemned me. The present government now says I shouldn't say anything and the foreign press appears to agree - it's
Do you think Pak Lah has back stabbed you?
Minor bruises, like saying I finished all their money when I know very well that the country has never been as rich as it is now. Having chosen him as my successor - in fact, he was not the first choice, he was second as he didn't have the highest vote. Najib (Abdul Razak) had. I chose him and I expect a degree of gratefulness. But I was told that I had been involved in mega-projects and finished the money. Nobody has the money now...
Are you engineering the early departure of the PM?
No, I'm not capable of that but when he does the right thing, I have nothing to say or support him but if he does the wrong thing and undermines national interests then I will have my say.
Are you trying to have him replaced?
I can't have him removed, it is for his own party to remove him, for Umno to remove him. I'm not helping or going around campaigning and tell people, Please remove this man'. But I'm supportive of Umno, my party.
Are you confident of the present administration?
If he keeps on doing the wrong things I cannot be confident so I'll keep watching. But it must be something substantial before I pass my comments.Simple things like people do, like getting contracts, I will not say anything
Has corruption increase after you retired?
Some people think there is more now than before, I don't have the statistics on corruption during my time, nor that of now.
Putrajaya is not developing after you've retired.
The government claims it has no money to continue concessions. That's what they say to stop many projects in Putrajaya. They have stopped the mosque, the monorail has been shelved because the government has no money. My contention is the government has lots of money and Putrajaya is built largely from Petronas funds. Petronas made a profit of RM50 billion last year and this year of RM80 billion. Petronas has a lot of money. Petronas can build if you want them to. Of course, it is 100 percent owned by the government and pays taxes of RM53 billion to the government. This year, Petronas made 83 billion and spent 13 billion to subsidise petrol prices of the public and it still has about RM70 billion, of which it will pay tax of RM30 billion and still have RM40 billion, and if the government wants, Petronas must give as it belongs to government. So to say the previous government has spent all the money is not supported by facts.
(What about) Petronas financial report?
They will soon publishing, I believe. That's what I'm told. A lot of people are complaining that the economy is not moving at the same rate as before?
But the figures show otherwise. So I'm glad for the people who say it is moving. We need to have a breakdown of figures to see if we are looking at the wrong indicators. I know, for example, the construction and retail sector not moving like before. This may not affect their figures. Modern accounting is subject to many modifications. You can show a set of figures in many ways. I know some companies have changed their accounting system to show profits.
Do you watch the World Cup?
I don't watch football; I have a lot of other things to do. Even badminton,
I ask my wife to watch and she tells me if they win. If they lose, don't
tell me or I cannot sleep. I have always said it is silly for 22 people to
chase one ball - (go) buy (them) one each

Read today's NST- Dr M: Hits out again
update: and the latest Bernama despath
PM Declines To Comment On Criticisms By Mahathir, June 08, 2006 20:40 PM
update2: Check also this
UMNO information chief Tan Sri Muhammad Taib: Mahathir's Decisions Bring Hardships To People from e-Sin Chew Newspaper (in English)

To see more pics of killed Al Qaeda leader and an understanding of Existence, Life, death click here
Update 3: See latest posting: REACTIONS TO MAHATHIR's OUTBURTS ..Long read)
Update 4: See Bernama's Full Text Interview with Tun Musa Hitam
Update 5: See also Dr M: WHY NO ANSWERS?


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