The outburst- some say is very calculated and blunt and directed against PM and was in bad taste. Tun Musa said that it is “against tradition & protocol” and had good words for PM Badawi: “elegance silence. mark of a good leader”. Datuk Seri Nasri was equally blunt, classifying his outburst as “mischievious”. Some UMNO do support him for their own reasons.
The Tun must have felt very disappointed and frustrated that in the eyes of all his close friends and associates he is now “impotent” to get things done.With the final mega projects being cancelled, he has nothing more to lose but to hit back in anger. Behind them you will almost always find an inhibited impulse, or many of them, that motivated him to move in some ideal direction—to seek understanding from his anointed - so idealized in his mind that it seemed impossible to achieve. Then he is left with the impulse to strike out.
The following views are culled from the 3 main English papers; the highlights are added in for easier reading.
Read on (a long read…)
From the SUN
Spat a concern Political stability is one of Malaysia's strongest cards, and it should not be undermined." Munir Majid ,K L Business Club president & MAS Chairman
by R. Manirajan and Pauline Puah, From The Sun, 9 June 2006
PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's scathing criticism of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was in every conversation yesterday and many are worried over where it will all lead.
Abdullah declined to comment on the criticisms, saying he wanted to concentrate on fulfilling the trust of the people who gave overwhelming support to the Barisan Nasional government in the 2004 general election.
"There's no need to expand on it. Tun (Dr Mahathir) is free to say anything. It is not a problem to me, because our country is democratic," he said in Sandakan.
However, members of Abdullah's administration both at federal and at state levels have rallied to express support for him and to answer angry points raised by Mahathir on Wednesday.
Some are also of the opinion that it is best for both parties to sit down and sort out their differences, instead of continuing to avoid the issue or to come up with a strong answer when the question is posed.
Some say Mahathir was disrespectful by expressing his dissatisfaction to the media, especially a gathering of foreign media personnel. The former prime minister accused Abdullah of back-stabbing him and not keeping to his promises after the latter became premier. He also regretted picking Abdullah to succeed him.
MP for Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who took on Mahathir for the Umno presidency in 1987 but lost, urged Abdullah and Mahathir to resolve their differences and dissatisfaction for the sake of the country and the people. He said Mahathir has the right to express his views, and Abdullah, like any other men, wants to be his own master
Kuala Lumpur Business Club president Datuk Dr Munir Majid, who is also Malaysia Airlines chairman, described the latest development as "very distressing" for business.
He hoped it will not develop into a destabilised political environment. "Political stability is one of Malaysia's strongest cards, and it should not be undermined."
Munir noted that the huge mandate given to the prime minister in the 2004 general election is "the most important sanction of the smooth political succession that took place end of October 2003".
Umno Veterans Club's Datuk Saidin Thamby said due respect should be given to Mahathir by the present leadership as he had contributed 21 years of his service for the betterment of the country.
"As an ex-prime minister who had initiated many programmes, which were jointly agreed to by the cabinet .. I feel those programmes should not be cancelled and this is not the right way to go about it," he said.
An Umno veteran, who requested anonymity, said Mahathir took 21 years to make his mark in the government and he should also allow Abdullah time to do so. "Abdullah has only been there for three years and still getting settled in office ... and in his second year, he knew the honeymoon period was over. So let's give him a chance to undo many things that are not right in the government."
Aliran welcomed Mahathir's support for freedom of expression and support his rights to criticise the government. "Unfortunately, when critics criticised Tun Mahathir's government, he always called them traitors, who were influenced and dominated by the West," said its secretary-general Dr Francis Loh Kok Wah.
Razaleigh: Resolve differences
by R. Manirajan ,Sun
KUALA LUMPUR: MP for Gua Musang Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah yesterday urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to resolve their differences and dissatisfaction for the sake of the country and the people. He said a solution needed to be found on whatever that was voiced recently and attempts made to move forward.
While not blaming the leaders for whatever is happening, he said the matter should not be allowed to escalate.
"All these must have happened because something made Dr Mahathir very, very unhappy. The prime minister, on his side, must also have his reason for doing what he had to do," Tengku Razaleigh told reporters at his residence.
Asked whether Mahathir should have made such a blunt statement against Abdullah, he said Mahathir has a right to voice his views, like other Malaysians.
But, referring to Abdullah, he said: "I think any man wants to be his own master."
On Mahathir's concern that the economy is not moving well, Tengku Razaleigh concurred that many in the business circle had met him to express their unhappiness about this.
"The economy is not about one or two persons, but involves the livelihood of millions of people. Abdullah received a huge mandate from the people and due to this, the expectations are very high," he said.
"New ideas need to be injected to stimulate the economy. Things have slowed down very badly. Businessmen are hoping things will return to normal."
On Mahathir's claim that somebody might be influencing Abdullah, Tengku Razaleigh said he had also heard of this and a lot of people were making remarks about it.
"I have no evidence but if this is true, it will weaken the government's administration."
Asked if he knew who these people are, he said he heard it is someone from the Umno Supreme Council and one who is not in the council but close to the leadership.
On whether Mahathir might be influenced to make the latest statement, Tengku Razaleigh said: "Mahathir cannot be influenced by anyone, no one can silence him. He is not afraid of anyone and I admire a man like that."
Asked whether he would play a role to mend the rift between both leaders, he said he would not.
On whether Mahathir had met him at a private function recently, Tengku Razaleigh said Mahathir spoke to him briefly about his concern about the Approved Permits, Proton, and the trade agreements signed with Japan which will make Malaysia weaker.
Asked if there was a call for him to do national service and come back to the government, Tengku Razaleigh said: "We will see. This is not a right forum and we will also have to see what the conditions are."
From the NST
PM's Cool:Abdullah stays out of fray Joniston Bangkuai, The NST
09 Jun 2006
-SANDAKAN: He could have come out with guns blazing. With Cabinet ministers and Barisan Nasional component parties rallying strongly around him, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was on solid ground to counter Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticism on Wednesday with some strong language.
He would have been given latitude by the public to hit back, after being singed by the former prime minister only 24 hours before.
But Abdullah chose elegance over a street brawl, unity over confrontation. More importantly, he chose national interest over personal discomfort.
"There’s no need to expand on it," he said. "Tun (Dr Mahathir) is free to say anything. It is not a problem to me, because our country is democratic."
Try as they did, reporters could not get him to respond to any of the criticisms directed against him by Dr Mahathir. When asked whether he was surprised that Dr Mahathir had accused him of betrayal and ingratitude, he replied: "That’s enough. Let us talk about other matters."
During a meeting with foreign and local media at his office, Dr Mahathir accused Abdullah of betraying his trust by reversing many of his decisions, going so far as to imply that he had picked the wrong person to lead Malaysia.
"It is unfortunately a common trait for me," Mahathir told reporters he had invited to the Perdana Leadership Institute. "I make a habit of choosing the wrong people perhaps... I chose him and I expected a certain degree of gratitude."
Dr Mahathir also complained that the new Government had cancelled several major projects initiated during his two decades in power, despite assurances they would be carried out after he left office.
Abdullah refused to be drawn into any towel-snapping with his predecessor despite some provocative statements by the latter recently. Yesterday was no different.
He preferred to talk about his commitment to fulfilling all promises made before the last general election.
"I want to focus on repaying the trust given by the people to the BN under my leadership," he said, noting that he had only been the Prime Minister for 2½ years.
He said the recently unveiled 9th Malaysia Plan would be the instrument for his administration to deliver on all promises contained in BN’s 2004 election manifesto.
The PM reiterated that improving the public delivery system and transforming Malaysia into a developed country by 2020 were important goals.
Abdullah said he was touched by the support given by everyone.
"It shows that you have confidence in my leadership and it will spur me to work harder for you. At this moment I want to focus my attention and strength towards making the 9MP a success, We have all accepted 2020 as the date to reach developed nation status. we have only 14 years to go," he said.
There was no trace of stress or worry on Abdullah’s face as he toured the Taman Mesra people’s housing project here. Perhaps this was due to the overwhelming support he has received since Dr Mahathir’s attack. They came from Cabinet ministers, BN component leaders and even corporate figures.
Last night was no different. Abdullah received a standing ovation at the Dewan Yu Kuan in Sandakan when he attended a "Perdana Menteri Bersama Rakyat" dinner.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said the organisers added another 700 places outside the hall to accommodate community members who wanted to show support for Abdullah.
In his speech, Musa pledged support for and confidence in Abdullah’s stewardship of the country, saying the PM enjoyed the full support of all BN component parties. His comments were received with robust applause and cheers.
Musa: Mark of a very good leader
KUALA LUMPUR: "An elegant silence."
This was the high praise reserved by former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam for Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday.
Commenting on the Prime Minister’s handling of the sharp criticisms from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Musa described Abdullah’s choice of not responding to Dr Mahathir’s statements the previous day as a wise decision.
"It is what I call elegant silence. It is the mark of a very, very good leader," he said.
Musa also praised Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Najib Razak who, although was in India, responded immediately to Dr Mahathir’s statements by calling for the Cabinet and the people to support the Prime Minister.
This, he said, showed the unity of the two leaders, despite statements from Dr Mahathir that he had made a mistake in choosing to elevate Abdullah instead of Najib, whom he said was his first choice.
As he praised Abdullah, so did Musa criticise his former boss.
He said Dr Mahathir had been harsh in his criticism, going against "tradition and protocol" in making his comments.
"I feel heavy-hearted to comment about what Dr Mahathir said as I have not been involved in political issues or the Government for a long time. But what was said by Dr Mahathir about the leadership of the Government, of the party and the country is negative and serious," he said, adding he decided to speak up because he did not want the
situation to get out of hand.
Musa, who was Deputy Prime Minister, stepped down in February 1986 following differences of opinion with Dr Mahathir.
An open letter to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad: Not going gentle into that
That’s what we — the products, inhabitants, stewards and legatees of the country you designed and built — need to know. Why have you become so harsh a critic of your successor’s administration?
You made them, too. They have cleaved to your vision of what this country needs to be, and they are moving forward — or at least attempting to, as best they can, given the way forward as they see it.
It wasn’t necessarily their way forward; it was yours. No one has argued with the road map you drafted for this country, nor the direction you determined, nor even with the pace you set to get where you wanted us to go.
Nothing of your legacy as prime minister has been dismantled. Such restructuring as is happening in the corporate Malaysia Inc you established — Proton and MAS in particular — is for companies in desperate trouble, needing to be re-engineered to new and more
businesslike specifications. Whether this will turn them around remains to be seen, but it needed to be done.
On the fuel price hike, your suggestion that fuel subsidies could have been maintained by allowing the exchange rate to float was, well, radical. Certainly, so was your decision to peg the ringgit to the US dollar during the Asian financial meltdown in 1998. By that time the claws of the crisis had sunk deep, and there was no lack of popular and political support for your soon-to-be famously successful move.
But the present administration, in reducing fuel subsidies, was responding to imperatives of long-term prudence, and that too has been by-and-large accepted and supported by the people. Times have changed, Tun. You should know: You changed them.
In the case of the Tebrau bridge, you seemed beside yourself with irritation. But it was precisely with respect to national sovereignty that the idea was scrapped; it’s hard to understand how you could have implied otherwise.
We know it’s a gamble, but for this term at least, the electorate have fallen behind the present administration with a greater mandate than you received even at the record-breaking height of your popularity.
But that was in 1982. For the ensuing 21 years, you charged forward with stupendous resolve, damning the torpedoes, brooking scant dissent, building this city on rock and roll.
Your successor is more graceful at the waltz, it seems — and so far the people have responded fondly enough to that, too.
How has Malaysia changed in the first half-term of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administration? It’s quieter. More circumspect. There’s more introspection at the top; a need, as much as a willingness, to listen, perhaps even more than to speak.
There’s greater inclusion, more accommodation. Necessarily in these circumstances, and yet so easily depicted as indecisiveness, there’s less unilateralism. And certainly, less of a hell-for-leather, gung-ho, we’ll-do-it-our-way charge at the future.
Yes, there’s less money sloshing around the system; there are fewer big buckets to draw from. This Government has turned away from top-down economic development through mega projects towards those grassroots sectors where but a fistful of ringgit might mean as much as thousands in other palms.
It’s a necessary attention, somewhat sidelined in your time, and quite cost-effective in terms of improving the lives of those Malaysians who could most do with it (and being recognised for it at the ballot box).
The present administration is not to be criticised for this. Which is by no means to say it is not to be criticised at all — even in the most strident, sneering or contemptuous terms, if that helps get a valid point across.
Just, please Tun, not by you. Our nation’s history should not have to deal again with the bitter irony of a revered leader leaving office honourably — indeed, covered in glory — only to henceforth speak for the far fringes of the Opposition.
It’s time to let us go, Tun. For better or worse, we owe our character as a modern nation to you. This is what we are now. This is the way we’re going. God knows, we may stumble or fall, stray off-track or derail entirely. We may reveal ourselves to be not as you had hoped but as you feared: effete, incompetent, mediocre; a polity of petty
concerns, narrow minds and limited abilities.
But we’ll struggle along as best we can, for better or worse, as who and what we are. We have to. You taught us that. It’s your choice, of course; you still have the keys to the kingdom granted you by a grateful populace for having carried them from the past to the future in a single generation. The respect accorded you will last forever; there would be no way to discredit what you did for Malaysia without virtually negating Malaysia itself.
But you of all men should know there are only three choices for the rare few: Lead, follow, or step aside.
Spot Light: Effendi, Nazri give full support to current administration
KUALA LUMPUR: June 7 was the day several ministers hoped would never
The day when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would allow his simmering anger against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to boil over.
That was the day when the ministers had to choose between their fondness and gratitude to Mahathir and their duty of speaking out against sidelines sniping.
Those who found themselves in the most uncomfortable position were those who had served both administrations.
• Effendi Norwawi.
Perhaps no one said it better than Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. "I mean no disrespect to Tun Mahathir as he was kind to me when I served in his administration, and I have great admiration for his leadership. But I make this statement with a clear conscience. I am not a member of Umno. I am an
apolitical party in this dispute," said the Sarawak politician.
Touching on the decision to cancel the bridge to replace the Causeway, he said: "As a matter of conscience as well as matter of public interest, I feel compelled to reveal what really took place as I was there throughout the deliberations.
"I can testify that Pak Lah was very particular that all the facts were presented, scrutinised and debated thoroughly. All ministers were personally involved in the debate.
"During the course of the exhaustive debates, not once did Pak Lah make any attempt to set the tone or direction of the discussions. It was a truly collective decision with everyone deciding based on their conscience.
"The decision reached was the only logical one — there was no other choice. Malaysia cannot take the risk of building half a bridge without a clear commitment by Singapore to build their side.
"One thing I am very certain of. The decision was never made to antagonise or offend Tun Mahathir."
Effendi said that in all the time he served under Abdullah, not once had he heard the latter run down Mahathir.
"In fact, we are constantly reminded by him never to forget the sacrifice, distinguished leadership and outstanding contribution of Tun. With Pak Lah, it is never about personal interest. And for those who know Pak Lah, it is not in his character to discredit anyone.
"I have had the honour of working with both Pak Lah and Tun Mahathir. I know both these gentlemen feel passionately about the future of the country. Both share the passion and desire for the country to prosper and move forward. In that spirit and compassion, I hope that Tun Mahathir will find it in his heart to accept that Pak Lah is trying to do his best for our country."
• Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.
Nazri never hides. He calls a spade a spade. Yesterday, he cut through all the niceties and accused Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of being mischievous in suggesting that his preferred choice of successor was Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
"I see it as an attempt to create a rift between the number one and number two. He wanted to create a rift, he knows what he is doing, and he must take responsibility for what he said."
Nazri said Mahathir should remember that when he had been attacked by former prime ministers, everyone rallied around him.
He urged the former PM to be careful of what he said because he was "no ordinary citizen".
"His comments about the Prime Minister, present Government and colleagues in the Cabinet are being taken seriously not only by us but also by the rakyat. People know that Dr Mahathir is a person who talks with facts and doesn’t simply open his mouth.
"This is the image he has created and people believe him. If ministers like me don’t respond, people may say what he is saying is right," Nazri said.
From The Star
9 June 2006
The velvet gloves come off
Comment by WONG CHUN WAI
IT has been brewing for close to a year now. He made known his unhappiness – in his usual sardonic and sarcastic way – to a small circle of listeners that the Abdullah administration has not run the country well.
But on Wednesday, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took off his gloves to launch what the media has termed his strongest criticism against the Prime Minister.
He accused Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of dismantling many of his policies and projects, and said that Abdullah was not his first choice as his successor and that the mild-mannered politician had betrayed his trust.
These were harsh and hurtful words which shocked ordinary Malaysians, who until now had little inkling of the pent-up frustrations of the former premier.
Sharp remarks against the leadership earlier were given scant coverage, but media space grew following his recent criticism of the government's decision to scrap the Johor bridge.
Abdullah, aware of the stinging comments, had maintained his calm and refused to let himself be drawn into a verbal war. At Cabinet meetings, he told his ministers he would not do so, although at least one minister had strongly urged him to defend himself.
It may just be the most effective tactic. It has helped Abdullah maintain his dignity while at the same time, prevent an escalating fight between the two respected figures.
For Dr Mahathir, the immediate verdict among ordinary Malaysians and Umno members, is divided. Many feel he should act more like a statesman and let his handpicked successor carry on the job of running the country, while there are those, especially businessmen, who have compared his legacy to that of Abdullah.
Some business and political groups claimed he had stronger economic fundamentals and that Malaysia was falling behind in the region. Last week, Abdullah pointed out that Malaysia had done well and improved its competitiveness rating, calling for faster implementation of the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
With the open fallout between Dr Mahathir and Abdullah, the question now is where does it go from here?
Dr Mahathir, at 81, is still robust and out-spoken. No one can stop him from speaking out as he has done all these years, no matter how irritating it may be to the powers that be.
We have all applauded him many times as the spokesman for the Third World, for his tough words against the United States. No one should be surprised if he does the same for domestic issues. That is the Dr M that we know and love. Nothing will change.
For Malaysian journalists, the first blow against Abdullah came on Aug 8, 2005, during a private dinner with 10 senior editors to celebrate his 80th birthday.
It was arranged by a prominent businessman, among others, for me to patch up with Dr Mahathir following his unhappiness with me.
On May 30, 2005, he had called a press conference to tick me off for my comments that during his 22 years tenure, he could have done more to combat graft.
At the same press conference, where he spoke on the Approved Permit (AP) issue of importing cars against Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz, Dr Mahathir said he wished he could have done more, such as carrying out anti-corruption campaigns. He also expressed disappointment with my article.
We patched up all right but during the dinner that lasted over two hours, he startled, if not shocked us, with his no-holds barred comments against Abdullah. Journalists, as the saying goes, are witnesses to history.
What he said affected us so much that we compared notes as he left, to make sure we got our quotes right so that we could include them in our memoirs.
With over 10 people present, there could never be a secret and word went out on what Dr Mahathir had said.
Later, the press was to witness similar expressions of unhappiness from Dr Mahathir.
One sore point with the former premier was allegations that he had used up money for mega projects and that the country had no more money. He would always rattle off figures to argue his case.
“The Government has lots of money and Putrajaya is built largely from Petronas funds. Petronas made a profit of RM50bil last year and this year it made RM83bil and spent RM13bil to subsidise petrol prices of the public,” he said on Wednesday.
“It still has about RM70bil. It will pay tax of RM30bil and have RM40bil left. Petronas must give, as it belongs to the Government. So to say the previous government has spent all the money is not supported by facts.”
What has happened on Wednesday has been deja vu for older Malaysians.
Dr Mahathir was sacked from Umno in 1969 for his criticism of Tunku
Abdul Rahman. When Dr Mahathir was prime minister, the Tunku
campaigned for Parti Melayu Semangat 46 against Dr Mahathir during the
Writing in his As I See It column, the Tunku was critical of what Dr Mahathir did and it must have disturbed Dr Mahathir, who would probably have seen it as interference from a retired prime minister.
Unfortunately, history has repeated itself. This time, it has become more complicated because Dr Mahathir has a larger than life image for many Malaysians as he had been the only Prime Minister they had known for a long time.
It will not be easy, even unfair, for anyone to compare Abdullah’s three years against Dr Mahathir’s 22 years of leadership. It will be something Pak Lah has to live with.
But Pak Lah has incumbency on his side. Pledges of support from Barisan Nasional and Umno leaders have been immediate and are surely a boost to his firm grip of the coalition and party.
Just in case anyone missed a remark by the Prime Minister on Tuesday, he said he has been given the tag of Mr Nice Guy. But not anymore and that’s a loaded remark!
Has Dr M gone too far this time?
Analysis by JOCELINE TAN
IT LOOKS like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has decided to burn his bridges.The former premier's latest comments about the Abdullah administration, or more specifically, about his successor seem to suggest he has reached a sort of political point-of-no-return.
He not only lashed out at the policies of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but has gone as far as to declare that Abdullah was not his first choice.
Abdullah, he said, was actually his second choice.
His statement was staggering and sent shock waves through a good number of Malaysians, particularly through the rank and file of Umno. Some think it was not an uncontrolled outburst but a calculated statement aimed at pushing his dissatisfaction with the affairs of state to another level.
He was so cool at the press conference that gave rise to yesterday's stunning headlines, looking polished in a steel-grey bush suit and with not a hair out of place.
Dr Mahathir has done press interviews so many times that there is no question he is not ready for. And he fielded every question so matter-of-factly that it took a few seconds for the gravity of his words to sink in for some of the journalists present.
He was probably well aware of the implications of coming out so aggressively and directly against Abdullah and his administration. He was, after all, in power for 22 years.
But the power of incumbency, as former deputy prime minister Tun Musa Hitam once said, should never be underestimated.
As expected, Cabinet members, state leaders and Umno leaders have rallied behind the Prime Minister, declaring their loyalty to him and defending him and his policies.
One of those who have come out strongly for Abdullah has been Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is currently on an official visit to India.
The pressure was on Najib to take the lead in showing his support for the Prime Minister, but as one of his aides said, “he would have done it even if he wasn't asked”.
“The DPM's stand is clear – undivided loyalty to the PM and respect for the former PM. Pak Lah leads the government of the day while Dr Mahathir has done big things for which we are grateful,” said Razak Baginda who heads a think-tank linked to Najib.
But generally, many of those who are part of the Government today are highly uncomfortable with the way Dr Mahathir has forced the issue.
Many of them owe their upward career path to him but they also owe where they are today to Abdullah who has his own style and set of priorities.
They admit Dr Mahathir has the right to air his views, but in a constructive way and in the manner of an elder statesman.
Some feel his remarks about his successor have been more akin to that of the political opposition. His views, they feel, have also grown increasingly personal and cutting.
What he said on Wednesday was perhaps the deepest cut.
It amounted to disowning his choice of successor and was as good as a severing of ties.
But can one disown one's own decision without casting some aspersions on oneself?
Does the admission of a poor decision also not reflect on the decision-maker?
And as many have pointed out, he chose Abdullah but since then, Abdullah has gone on to secure a convincing mandate of his own from the people.
They feel Dr Mahathir does not seem to acknowledge this important factor in his verdict on the present Government.
Some think Dr Mahathir is trying to provoke a reaction from Abdullah. Abdullah is unlikely to react in haste.
From day one, he has not said anything, partly out of respect for his predecessor and partly because it is not in his nature to fight a war of words.
But those close to him said that Dr Mahathir had simply reached the end of his tether and the cancellation of the bridge project in Johor was the proverbial last straw.
“You people have no idea how strongly he felt about Singapore and the bridge. Tun feels that since he can no longer canvass for votes from the Umno leadership, he will do it through the masses who read the news,'' said a Mahathir loyalist.
Malaysians knew that Dr Mahathir would be a tough act to follow and pity the man who has to fill his shoes. And not many expected him to let go completely, knowing his indomitable will and sheer force of personality.
But few thought that he would take on his successor and the Government this way. Is it possible he has gone too far this time?
Retire with dignity, Karpal tells Dr Mahathir
KUALA LUMPUR: Ride into the sunset with grace and dignity. This is the advice of DAP chairman Karpal Singh to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Karpal Singh said it did not bode well for the elder statesman to publicly voice his grouses against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
“Dr Mahathir must accept that his time was up when he passed the baton of leadership to Abdullah. There is no turning back,” said Karpal Singh in a statement.
“During his tenure as PM, Dr Mahathir was known to attract controversy to the extent of hitting out at leaders of other countries. He should understand that he cannot do that now,” he said.
He also said Dr Mahathir's choice of Abdullah over Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak should have remained something close to his chest, particularly so when he himself was chosen by Tun Hussein Onn as Deputy Prime Minister over other capable leaders.
If Dr Mahathir had intended to be actively involved politics he should have remained in the government as a senior minister – as in the case of Lee Kuan Yew, who had vowed to remain in the Singapore government as long as he could, said Karpal Singh.
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the time had come for Abdullah to stand up to Dr Mahathir and show that he stands for political equality, socio-economic justice and an all-out campaign against corruption.