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Malaysians must not be bystanding when Dr Mahathir airs his complaints


Media Statement

by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): We Malaysians cannot afford to be mere bystanders when former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad passes his remarks and criticisms on the present Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. That's because most of the issues raised by Mahathir were related to national interest of great importance and significance.

The transcript of Dr Mahathir Mohamad's press conference on Sunday immediately after his one-to-one talk could be found in the Internet websites and blogs.I urge all Malaysians to read the transcript in order to understand the issues concerning this country and act on it.


I am only highlighting some major issues raised by Mahathir and offer my observations and opinions.


So will you support Najib as Umno president?
Dr M: That is hypothetical.

Do you think he will make it as Prime Minister?
Dr M : That is up to them to decide, not for me to decide, not for me to say I support or don't. It's entirely dependent upon Umno.
But I must admit that I had appointed Najib deputy prime minister and in the course of time, according to tradition, the deputy prime minister should succeed the prime minister.


My observation: Mahathir has once again confirmed our belief, that Najib Tun Razak was not chosen by Abdullah. Najib was appointed at the insistance of Mahathir. But Mahathir is now not in favour of Najib anymore because Najib has been playing safe and he was seen giving too much support to Abdullah. That's why Mahathir mentioned Tengku Razaleigh in his recent interview by Bloomberg.

You said the Chinese would vote for the Opposition, aren't you afraid that the Opposition will have a bigger majority?
Dr M : Yes, I think it is possible. My assessment is that it is not possible for the Opposition to win but they may be able to reduce the majority of the Government.


My observation: Mahathir is corect to say that the Chinese would vote for the Opposition. His assessment that the Opposition will not be able to topple the BN Government is also accurate. That's because BN will certainly dish out some goodies to pacify the Rakyat apart from resorting to cheating and manipulations with the help of the Election Commission (SPR). Besides, the Opposition must really put their act together soonest possible to win the confidence and acceptance of the voters in general. To me, Mahathir should have also told Abdullah that if he does not buck up, many Indians, Malays, Kadazans, Ibans and other races in general would also vote for the Opposition. What has happened in Sarawak can also takes palce in Peneinsular Malaysia and Sabah.

Don't you think what you are doing now is bad for the party?
Dr M : I see that what he is doing now is bad for the party and unless you criticise and stop what he is doing now, it will have bad results for the country. It is not an internal problem of Umno alone. It's not a question of unity within Umno. Umno cannot win the elections without public support and today the public is very critical of the present conditions, the present economy, the present system of administration, the involvement of family members, the telephone calls, the contracts won by the children's company. This concerns the public and if the public doesn't support, even if 100% of Umno were to support our candidates, they will still lose.


My observation: What Mahathir is doing now is good for the Rakyat. You see, Opposition leaders can bring up the same isues but no chance of seeing the lights. Besides, Umno leaders including Abdullah should be able to differentiate what is voice and what is noise. Heeding some of the good advices can only make Umno cleaner and stronger.The involvement of family members, the telephone calls and the contracts won by the children's company were unfair to other businessmen. Tell me if these were not corruption, nepotism and cronyism. How could the Malaysian public continue to vote for Umno and other BN componentr parties if these things were not changed?


What is your assessment of the Prime Minister's personal integrity. Is he an honest man?
Dr M : Well, I don't know. But how does he get involved in the oil-for-food business? He says no, he is not involved but his name is there as the beneficiary.


My observation: This is one issue Abdullah has not cleared his name. Abdullah has also not explained why he allows RM300 million from the wang ehsan coffer be spent on a single sport event in Terengganu , and spending another RM400 million to build a bridge to link an unknown island also in Terengganu. (Please visit Colour-blind for other details). He has not denied why Patrick Lim and other buddies of Khairy Jamaluddin were allowed to have a field day out there.


Are you unhappy with Najib for not saying much?
Dr M: Whether I am happy or not, whatever happens to him is something that will happen to him, not to me.
What do you mean?

Dr M: Whatever he does of course will affect his future.
But he is somebody whom you had lobbied for.
Dr M : Yes I did, but beyond that I am not prepared to do anything more.


My observation: See, Najib has been dropped by Mahathir, rather obvious. The sad thing about us Malaysians is that we do not have many political leaders in Umno who has the calibre or potential, I mean prime minister materials. Mention names like Najib, Hishamuddin, Khairy or Muhyiddin and you will hear a big, loud NO from the gallery.


Najib recently announced RM40bil in investments by companies.
Dr M: Announce is OK. It's like announcing the Ninth Malaysia Plan, it has been announced two years ago but up to now as far as I know none of the projects have taken off. I did also comment (to Pak lah) on this private financing initiative. Now what is private financing initiative? It sounds as if it is the private sector which is going to do everything and the Government does not have to spend one sen. It sounds like privatisation but it is not. It is the same as build, lease and transfer.   It means the private sector build this bridge at whatever cost and then lease it to the Government.   Of course, when you lease it to the Government it must give the company profit and sufficient money to pay off debts. And in the end of course the Government will pay.


My observation: Najib has only said that RM11 billion will be a foreign investment and the remaining RM29 billion will actually local investments. These are certainly super mega projects, much bigger if you compare with all the mega projects initiated by Mahatthir. But we have no idea except waiting for more news from Najib or Abdullah. We thought Abdullah were quite critical about mega projects at one time. But anymore. And the point raised on the so-called PFI ( Private Finamcing Initiative) sounds like a scam to squeeze Malaysian taxpayers. It would be another form of privatization ( or piratisation?). more or less. We thank Mahathir for pointing out clearly to all Malaysians. We better try our best to stop their monkey tricks if we Malaysian taxpayers do not want to end up paying for it. The BN Government has no money. Every single sen belongs to the Rakyat.

Your view on bumiputra equity ownership at 18% or 45%?

Dr M: I think the Government has to explain how it reached the figure of 18% and the other side has to explain how it reached the figure of 45%. I don't think the figure of 45% is correct. As far as 18% is concerned, it may be nearer the actual figure than the 45% figure. So let's clear this up. Don't say: "Don't question this thing."  To every criticism directed at the Government, the answer is: "Don't question this thing, don't raise this issue, stop talking about this."


My observation: I disagree with Mahathir that 18.9% may not be nearerthe actual figure than the 45% figure. Because the data andf methodology used by Asli were more scientific, practical and logical than those applied by the EPU ( if Abdullah was not quoted wrongly). But I agree with him that the Government should clear this up. On this point, former Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Musa Hitam was a great disappointment  to us. He should not have commented raising the bumiputera issues could cause racial unrest. He should learn from Mahathir on how to handle important and sensitive issues concerning the nation. He also made the same mistake when he was asked to comment on my piece on the history of independence ( Merdeka) in 2005, entitled "The real fighters of Merdeka".


Abdullah has yet to give his side of views. Mahathir has outdone him on this round and he really cannot afford to lose out again when he finally decides to speak.


Let us hope that he would offer some good and sensible answers and quickly follow up with some good remedies. Actions speak louder than words. If Abdullah can act steadfastly on issues such as IPCMC, NEP, APs, mega projects, marginalization and corporate equity, Cabinet deadwoods and little Napoleans, Singapore-Malaysia relationship, corruption, nepotism and cronyism, Mahathir would have no choice but to shut up. 


*Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP CEC member and NGO Bureau Chief

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