Mahathirism rides again, with all its attendant horrors and monstrosities intact.
The latest manifestation of the full-throttled return of Mahathirism is one of the wildest accusations in Malaysian politics – that Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was the real mastermind in the “citizenship-for-votes” scams in Sabah in the nineties known as “Project M”.
When did former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad discover that Anwar was the mastermind of the project named infamously after him as “Project M”?
Clearly not on January 16, 2013 when revelations at the Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants implicated two of Mahathir’s closest confidantes, former Deputy Home Minister, Megat Junid Megat Ayub and former political secretary Abdul Aziz Shamsuddin in the “Project M” scams from 1990 – 1995 to issue hundreds of thousands of fake blue identity cards and false letters of approval for birth certificates in exchange for votes to illegal immigrants.
Nor on the following day on January 17 when for the first time in two decades, Mahathir publicly admitted the existence of “Project M” but defended it as lawful on the ground that the Filipino illegal immigrants could speak Malay and “have the right to be citizens”, while casting a serious slur on the memory and good name of Tunku Abdul Rahman by alleging that Bapa Malaysia had done worse by giving citizenship to one million unqualified people before Merdeka, lamenting that no one had made it an issue.
Nor for the next two weeks until January 31 when Mahathir suddenly announced that Anwar was the real mastermind of “Project M” responsible for the “citizenship-for-votes” scam in Sabah, although admitting having no proof to back his claim.
How can Mahathir credibly claim that “Project M” might have happened “without any knowledge and orders from the top” when he had openly admitted to its existence and owned up to its authorship on January 17, not only justifying it on the ground that the illegal immigrants spoke Malay, but claiming that he had not done worse than Tunku when he falsely alleged that Bapa Malaysia had issued one million citizenship to unqualified non-Malays before Merdeka?
What credibility is there in Mahathir’s allegation yesterday blaming Anwar for masterminding “Project M” when the two key personalities “from the top” in the “Project M” scams were his own and not Anwar’s right-hand men – namely Megat Junid and Aziz Shamsuddin?
Who would have doubted that if Anwar was the real mastermind of “citizenship-for-votes” scam, Mahathir would have charged Anwar in court or openly accused him for high treason in his efforts for over a decade to kill off Anwar’s political prospects, and not to forget or overlook it for 15 years only to suddenly remember or discover yesterday that it was Anwar and not him who was behind the “Project M” scam?
In fact, if Anwar had been the real mastermind of the “citizenship-for-votes” scam in Sabah, it would have been known as “Project A” instead of “Project M”. What Malaysians are seeing is Machiavellian Mahathir in full form.
Anwar has denied any role in Project M or Project IC in Sabah, saying that this matter was never brought to the Cabinet and neither did he attend or chair any meeting on it. He reiterated that he is willing to testify before the RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah if called to do so.
Anwar accused Mahathir of being responsible for the task force responsible for the citizenships granted to the immigrants.
He also claimed that the exercise was ongoing and suggested that the RCI call up Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and former premier Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as well.
What Sabahans and Malaysians want is for Anwar, Najib and the two former Prime Ministers, Mahathir and Abdullah, to all testify before the RCI.
Anwar has declared his willingness to appear before the RCI. Are Najib, Mahathir and Abdullah prepared to publicly declare their willingness to appear for the RCI to slot public hearings for the four as topmost RCI priority so as to establish who among the four had committed treason against the country?