Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mahathir has refuted the charges of corruption and squandering

Former PM Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has refuted the charges of corruption leveled against him during his 22 year long tenure as a Prime Minister adding that he would welcome any enquiry for investigating his role in burning 40.9 billion Singapore dollars on grandiose projects.

Expressing a clear distrust over government machinery and its officials, Dr. Mahathir said that people of impeccable reputation should be incorporated in the enquiry commission.

Asking for widening the scope of commission, Dr. Mahathir said that role of other PMs including former PM Tun Abdullah Badawi should also be investigated. He said that the commission should be allowed to access the official record between the period of 1981 and 2009 for making the enquiry successful.

Dr. Mahathir wrote in his blog, "It should also include how much money was lost due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and the Johor Baru- Padang Besar railway project."

Challenging Barry Wain, the author of the book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times' Dr. Mahathir asked him to provided proofs to substantiate the charges he leveled against him.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dr Mahathir challenges former WSJ editor to criticize Singapore leaders

Malaysian former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had challenged the former Managing Editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, Barry Wain to criticize Singapore leaders.

Wain, recently released his book “Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times,” in which he accuses Dr Mahathir of wasting RM100 billion in public funds during his tenure as Malaysian Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003.

In a posting on his blog chedet yesterday, Dr Mahathir made a point for point defence against the accusations leveled against him and said he welcomed opposition leader Lim Kit Siang’s call for the Malaysian government to set up a royal commission to probe whether he “burned” RM100 billion.

True to his combative style, Dr Mahathir poured scorn on Wain for criticizing him only and challenged him to take on the leaders of Singapore, where he now resides.

“Barry Wain was formerly with the Asian Wall Street Journal and Asia Week. Presently he is with the Singapore think tank, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. He knows that if he writes anything against Singapore leaders he would be dragged to the courts, sued and forced to pay huge indemnity. His colleagues have all been found guilty of defamation when they wrote something that was not approved by Singapore leaders.” Dr Mahathir wrote.

He suggested that journalists dare to do so as the Malaysian courts are “lenient” with them:

“It is safe for journalists to impute all kinds of misbehaviour by Malaysian leaders. There have been many cases where the courts have found in favour of the journalists,” he added.

Dr Mahathir was referring to a recent court case involving WSJ’s sister publication – Far Eastern Economic Review which was sued for defamation by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The Singapore High Court had ordered the Review Publishing Company, publisher of the Far Eastern Economic Review (FEER), and editor Hugo Restall to pay 200,000 dollars in damages and 30,000 dollars in legal costs to Premier Lee Hsien Loong.

His father, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, will get 150,000 dollars in damages and 25,000 dollars in legal costs.

The penalties were set after the Court of Appeal last month upheld a 2008 decision finding the defendants guilty of defaming the Lees in a 2006 article based on an interview with Chee Soon Juan, an opposition party leader.

The article at the heart of the case — entitled “Singapore’s ‘Martyr’, Chee Soon Juan” — described the opposition Singapore Democratic Party secretary general’s battle against the ruling People’s Action Party and its leaders.

Leaders from the Singapore’s ruling party have won numerous defamation suits against their political opponents back home and foreign publications such as The Economist, Time, Bloomberg, AsiaWeek and the International Herald Tribune.

Despite similar leadership style between him and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Mahathir seldom sued those who opposed him for defamation.

The litigious nature of Singapore’s leaders have attracted international criticisms and opprobrium, especially from human rights organizations.

Singapore’s Law Minister Shanmugam defended its harsh defamatory laws lately to an American audience on the grounds that it is important to safeguard the reputation of its leaders from “scurrilous and baseless” accusations.

As one Malaysiakini reader puts it succinctly:

“And about Singapore, I bet my life, Barry Wain will never, never write anything about their ” Incorruptible Leaders ” Least he wants to be bankrupt. Just so you know, a very famous opposition leader in Singapore, spent donkey years getting out of bankruptcy, and died few months later.”

It will be interesting to see if Wain, Restall, or any other WSJ editor will write a fair, accurate and objective assessment of MM Lee when he passes on finally.

China’s Mao was a living god when he was still alive. Today, he is persona non grata in China and denounced as a mass-murderer outside China.

Lee will probably suffer a similar fate as Mao with few Singaporeans being remotely aware of his contributions or even existence long after his PAP is booted out of office.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Forget Your Root Country - We Are Malaysians - Mahathir

PENANG, Dec 23 (Bernama) -- Everyone in Malaysia have to set a side their origin country and start calling themselves Malaysians for the success of the 1Malaysia concept, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

The former prime minister said they had to put aside their origin country such as India or China and start calling themselves Malaysians.

"They must put aside their origin country and call themselves Malaysians for 1Malaysia to be successful," he said during an appreciation dinner with the Association of Muslim Kadayanallur here Wednesday.

Tun Mahathir called on the people to help realise the government's aspiration of strengthening racial unity and harmony in line with the 1Malaysia concept.

He said people in Thailand and Indonesia called themselves Thais and Indonesians respectively but this did not happen here.

To a claim that the Indian Muslims in the country had been neglected, he said they should choose to either become a Muslim or an Indian.

"The country is very liberal and I think they (Indian Muslims) will be accepted by all if they can pick either to become a Muslim or Indian.".

Tun Mahathir said there was no difference between the various races as everyone were Malaysians.

"The federal constitution also defined a Muslim very clearly. If they want to become a Muslim then just follow the constitution."

He said if Indian Muslims in the country still called themselves as such, others might think that they still had links to the origin country.

"The problem of Indian Muslims will be resolved if they can decide and choose to become either a Muslim or an Indian," he added.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy With Better Life Of Langkawi Folk

LANGKAWI, Dec 20 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed happiness over the change for the better in the livelihood of the people of Langkawi following the development which has come to the legendary island.

He said he noticed that many wooden dwellings lacking basic facilities had transformed into concrete houses over the years, and attributed the development partly to a cement factory established in Teluk Ewa, Ayer Hangat.

This was part of the intensive development which Langkawi had undergone and was being felt by the islanders, he said at a dinner here Saturday night to raise funds for the Langkawi branch of the National Association for the Prevention of Drug Abuse (Pemadam Langkawi). Also present was Dr Mahathir's wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali.

Dr Mahathir received cheques amounting to RM65,000 from various bodies for Pemadam Langkawi.

The former prime minister said there was still room to further develop Langkawi, in terms of providing employment opportunities and setting up business such as barter trade at the Teluk Ewa port.

He also advised parents and teachers to create awareness in children on the dangers of taking drugs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mahathir Book Too Hot for Malaysian Custom

Malaysian customs authorities have been holding up delivery of 800 copies of an authoritative new biography of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for the past three weeks at the Port Klang customs office.

The book, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times," written by former Asian Wall Street Journal Managing Editor Barry Wain, is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power. It is certain to become an essential study for scholars seeking to understand the onetime premier's reign and its consequences. But maybe not in Malaysia itself unless the locals buy through Barns & Noble (available Jan. 10) or Amazon (Jan. 5) for US$60.75.

Reports of the book have created considerable stir in Malaysia after the popular Malaysiakini news website ran reports of it along with a review first published in Asia Sentinel.

The book will probably turn up on bookshelves eventually, said one Malaysian source. "There are lots of books on the shelves that are critical of Dr Mahathir. It might be some of his allies that stopped it. But everybody knows about it, it's just they're waiting for a hard copy."

Foreign published books air-freighted into Malaysia often go through customs without being checked, or with only a cursory check at the airport. Books sent by ship or by land from Singapore are often stopped for inspection, however, which can mean customs officers spending weeks reading the material. Sometimes they just sit on the book, leaving the publisher with little option but to withdraw it or be faced with being hit with storage charges, leaving the book effectively banned without the government having to face criticism for formally banning it.

The reform organization Aliran said the holdup of the books " is nothing short of crude and reckless censorship, although indirect, the effect is the same. It very undemocratically denies Malaysians reading material that should be made freely available to all and sundry. This book is of particular interest to citizens who are appalled by the disclosure that under Mahathir RM100 billion could
have been squandered. They have been waiting anxiously to find out how this atrocity involving a mammoth, mind-boggling amount could have happened without anybody commenting on this extravagance."
The book tells the story of an essentially pragmatic man who managed the always-fraught balance between the country's races, particularly the Malays and Chinese, relatively well although the New Economic Policy which he inherited from his predecessor, an affirmative action program for the majority race was deeply flawed, creating an entitlement mentality among Malays that largely failed to uplift them economically despite all efforts. Nonetheless, Mahathir, Wain wrote, "wasted no time in transforming Malaysia in line with his vision of a modern, industrialized nation, setting the goal of becoming fully developed by 2020."

Rubber, palm oil and tin, the mainstays of the economy, Wain wrote, gave way to the production of manufactured goods and embraced a high-tech future, making Malaysia one of the developing world's most successful countries. Mahathir, he said, "relentlessly badgered, berated and browbeat Malaysians, especially Malays, to shape up and convert his dreams into reality. If necessary, he would crucify opponents, sacrifice allies and tolerate monumental institutional and social abuses to advance his project."

Unfortunately that also produced some excesses that the country could take decades to correct. By Wain's reckoning, the country wasted as much as RM100 billion (US$40 billion at exchange rates at the time) on grandiose projects such as the Perwaja steel plant, which lost an estimated US$800 million and whose executive director, Eric Chia, was charged with embezzling large amounts of money. Chia, however, was freed by a Malaysian judiciary system that Mahathir had basically gutted and rebuilt to serve the interests of the state.

Wain writes about Mahathir's relationship with Daim Zainuddin, the onetime finance minister who dismissed concerns about the commingling of his public and private interests, among a wide range of cronies who ultimately became a rentier class that did huge damage to the country's coffers.

He could be stridently anti-western, breaking with the UK dramatically by establishing a "Buy British Last" program that only ended when Margaret Thatcher, then the iron prime minister of Britain, made a trip to meet with Mahathir himself. Nonetheless, Wain writes, Mahathir's anti-west rhetoric of the 1980s and 1990s, though reminiscent of the first generation of developing world leaders feeling their way out from under the yoke of colonialism, "was accompanied by a diametrically opposite view of economics. Although a strident nationalist, he was pragmatic and favored the market system that brought prosperity to the industrialized nations."

Like Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore and Indonesia's Suharto, "Dr Mahathir integrated his country deeply with the Western economies and achieved an enviable development record."

Wain wrote that during a visit to Washington DC in which Mahathir met President Ronald Reagan, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and others, he secretly launched an innocuous sounding Bilateral Training and Consultation Treaty, which Wain described as a series of working groups for exercises, intelligence sharing, logistical support and general security issues. In the meantime, Mahathir continued display a public antipathy on general principles at the Americans while his jungle was crawling with US troops quietly training for jungle warfare.

(On Dec. 16, Mahathir slammed what he described as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak's change in Malaysia's foreign policy to back the United States in a recent flap over an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution criticising Iran for its nuclear program.)

That's all good. But Wain's exhaustive reprise of the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal of the early 1980s, for instance, in which as much as US$1 billion disappeared from the Hong Kong arm of the government-owned Bank Bumiputra Malaysia, ill-starred forays into currency manipulation by Bank Negara, the country's central bank, which cost billions, the attempt directed by Mahathir to attempt to corner the tin market in the early 1980s, and other huge missteps apparently didn't set will with the government's current leaders.

Wain's book remains on the loading docks, awaiting a decision to deliver it. But for readers who buy Kindle or another electronic reader, it's easy to get.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dr M criticises Najib’s ‘pro-US’ policy

By G. Manimaran and Leslie Lau

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed his disappointment at what he described as a change in Malaysia’s foreign policy to back the United States, following a recent flap over how the country voted against an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution criticising Iran for its nuclear programme.

The Foreign Ministry was forced to recall the country's envoy to the United Nations in Vienna after he voted against an IAEA resolution criticising Iran for ignoring UN Security Council and nuclear watchdog demands by continuing to build its enrichment programme.

It is understood that Wisma Putra and the administration are concerned over international public perception after Malaysia, along with Venezuela and Cuba, voted against the IAEA resolution.

But Dr Mahathir, known for his strident views about Western powers, criticised Datuk Seri Najib Razak's administration today for changing the country's foreign policy.

"We have changed. Previously we defended countries against oppression by the United States. Now we are backing the US in oppressing Iran," he said in a posting on his blog today.

Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman said this week that a decision will soon be made on whether action will be taken against the veteran envoy, Datuk Mohd Arshad M. Hussain.

Dr Mahathir is, however, unhappy that the envoy was recalled.

"Now our envoy is recalled and is being questioned for not backing America. Is this our new policy?" asked the former PM.

By not consulting with Wisma Putra before going ahead with the vote, the envoy had put Malaysia's top diplomat Anifah in a difficult position.

Since his appointment Anifah has gained a reputation as the hardest-working Cabinet member, making regular trips round the world to put forward the country's position on various issues and establishing Najib's credentials as a reformist committed to international trade in Washington.

But the IAEA vote threatens to put Malaysia in the same category as Venezuela and Cuba, two countries well known to be at odds with Washington.

The IAEA resolution criticises Iran for defying a UN Security Council ban on uranium enrichment — the source of both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.

It also censured Iran for secretly building a uranium enrichment facility; and noted that it could not be confirmed that Teheran's nuclear programme was exclusively geared towards peaceful uses, and expressed "serious concern" that Iranian stonewalling of an IAEA probe means "the possibility of military dimensions to Iran's nuclear programme" cannot be excluded.

In criticising Najib's foreign policy, Dr Mahathir is sending a strong signal to the prime minister that he wants the country to maintain his policies in dealing with the US.

The former PM suggested in his remarks, however, that Barack Obama had been disappointing because the US president had not changed his country's foreign policy, and that Malaysia should not back Washington.

"Far from making changes, he is adding more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. The Guantanamo detention camp also remains open," said Dr Mahathir.

He added that it was the US and Israel which continue to use nuclear weapons.

"They are using depleted uranium from nuclear products. We allow it. Officially we are not protesting.

"India has nuclear weapons. So does Pakistan, Why not Iran?" he said.

Dr Mahathir's comments could put Najib in a spot, especially among the more conservative front in Umno.

The Malaysian Insider understands that missteps such as the IAEA vote and the vocal stand of some Malaysian leaders like Dr Mahathir against the US have not helped in the Najib administration's courtship of Obama.

When Obama expressed interest earlier this year to make an official visit to Indonesia, government officials here had started lobbying Washington for the US president to make a brief stopover here to meet with the PM.

Obama has since postponed his visit to Indonesia.

US officials are understood to be perplexed by Malaysia's position on issues such as the recent IAEA vote.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Don’t question bumiputra quotas in public universities - says Dr M

Don’t dispute bumiputra quotas in public universities, says Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 12 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today the opportunity given to more bumiputeras to enter public universities should not be disputed as a racist act which prioritises one race at the expense of the others.

The former prime minister said the move was to ensure a balanced racial development so that the bumiputeras were not left behind in the mainstream education, which could have negative repercussions.

He said that at the private institutions of higher learning, which now numbered nearly the same as the public institutions of higher learning, the bumiputera enrolment was very small, only in the region of 10 per cent, while the rest was made up of the other races because many bumiputeras could not afford the fees.

“If we conduct a census of the number of students in the government and private universities, there are more non-bumiputera students. That’s why we give attention and more places to bumiputeras,” he said in his keynote address, entitled “UUM 25 Years Expectation vs Reality”, at the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Alumni Convention 2009 here.

“So we should not feel guilty (just) because we have places for the bumiputeras. We have a right to attain a position that is on par in this country. We want reasonable rights,” he said.

Dr Mahathir said the affirmative policy under the New Economic Policy to bring the bumiputeras into the country’s mainstream development in various fields, including education, was not something extreme because although bumiputeras made up about 60 per cent of the population, the set quota was only 30 per cent.

“This is not racism...we only ask for half of what we should be demanding. This shows that we are not fact to get 30 per cent is not easy,” he said.

He said that if there was no balance, those left behind would feel hatred and jealousy and might act irrationally, and this was what the country wanted to avoid.

He added that the extra attention and opportunities given to the bumiputeras did not mean that the other races were sidelined.

He also said that it was important for the bumiputeras to have the knowledge in running a business because many of them did not use the money as capital or to invest but to shop.
There's an easy way to plan for retirement. Find out how.

“We must change the bumiputera mindset. The money will bring returns when invested and this can enhance their wealth. Normally they spend when they have money...often more than the money available and this causes problems.”

On the UUM, Dr Mahathir said the aspiration of its establishment had been achieved as was evident from the success in producing bumiputera graduates as well of graduates of other races in management but it was still not enough.

“The UUM’s future still hinges on efforts in capacity building, especially for the bumiputeras, in business,” he said.

He said students in management finance and accounting must be taught to have the right mindset, strong resilience as well as the intricacies to be successful in business and other fields.

Dr Mahathir also hoped that one day there would be a university town in Sintok, where the UUM is located, like the university towns in Cambridge and Oxford. — Bernama

Monday, December 7, 2009

Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times

Book Review: Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times
Tag it:Written by John Berthelsen
Friday, 04 December 2009
by Barry Wain. Palgrave Macmillan, 363pp. Available through Amazon, US$60.75. Available for Pre-order, to be released Jan 5.

In 1984 or 1985, when I was an Asian Wall Street Journal correspondent in Malaysia, an acquaintance called me and said he had seen a US Army 2-1/2 ton truck, known as a "deuce-and-a-half," filled with US military personnel in jungle gear on a back road outside of Kuala Lumpur.

Since Malaysia and the United States were hardly close friends at that point, I immediately went to the US Embassy in KL and asked what the US soldiers were doing there. I received blank stares. Similar requests to the Malaysian Ministry of Defense brought the same response. After a few days of chasing the story, I concluded that my acquaintance must have been seeing things and dropped it.

It turns out he wasn’t seeing things after all. In a new book, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times," launched Dec. 4 in Asia, former Asian Wall Street Journal editor Barry Wain solved the mystery. In 1984, during a visit to Washington DC in which Mahathir met President Ronald Reagan, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger and others, he secretly launched an innocuous sounding Bilateral Training and Consultation Treaty, which Wain described as a series of working groups for exercises, intelligence sharing, logistical support and general security issues. In the meantime, Mahathir continued display a public antipathy on general principles at the Americans while his jungle was crawling with US troops quietly training for jungle warfare.

That ability to work both sides of the street was a Mahathir characteristic. In his foreword, Wain, in what is hoped to be a definitive history of the former prime minister’s life and career, writes that "while [Mahathir] has been a public figure in Malaysia for half a century and well known abroad for almost as long, he has presented himself as a bundle of contradictions: a Malay champion who was the Malays’ fiercest critic and an ally of Chinese-Malaysian businessmen; a tireless campaigner against Western economic domination who assiduously courted American and European capitalists; a blunt, combative individual who extolled the virtues of consensual Asian values."

Wain was granted access to the former premier for a series of exhaustive interviews. It may well be the most definitive picture painted of Mahathir to date, and certainly is even-handed. Wain, now a writer in residence at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, is by no means a Mahathir sycophant. Advance publicity for the book has dwelt on an assertion by Wain that Mahathir may well have wasted or burned up as much as RM100 billion (US$40 billion at earlier exchange rates when the projects were active) on grandiose projects and the corruption that that the projects engendered as he sought to turn Malaysia into an industrialized state. Although some in Malaysia have said the figure is too high, it seems about accurate, considering such ill-advised projects as a national car, the Proton, which still continues to bleed money and cost vastly more in opportunity costs for Malaysian citizens forced to buy any other make at huge markups behind tariff walls. In addition, while Thailand in particular became a regional center for car manufacture and for spares, Malaysia, handicapped by its national car policy, was left out.

Almost at the start of the book, Wain encapsulates the former premier so well that it bears repeating here: Mahathir, he writes, "had an all-consuming desire to turn Malaysia into a modern, industrialized nation commanding worldwide respect. Dr Mahathir’s decision to direct the ruling party into business in a major way while the government practiced affirmative action, changed the nature of the party and accelerated the spread of corruption. One manifestation was the eruption of successive financial scandals, massive by any standards, which nevertheless left Dr Mahathir unfazed and unapologetic."

That pretty much was the story of Malaysia for the 22 years that Mahathir was in charge. There is no evidence that Mahathir himself was ever involved in corruption. Once, as Ferdinand Marcos was losing his grip on the Philippines, Mahathir pointed out to a group of reporters that he was conveyed around in a long black Daimler – the same model as the British ambassador used – that the Istana where he lived was a huge mansion, that he had everything he needed. Why, he asked, was there any need to take money from corruption? Nonetheless, in his drive to foster a Malay entrepreneurial class, he allowed those around him to pillage the national treasury almost at will, which carried over into Umno after he had left office and which blights the country to this day.

Wain follows intricate trails through much of this, ranging from the attempt, okayed by Mahathir, to attempt to rescue Bumiputra Malaysia Finance in the early 1980s which turned into what at the time was the world’s biggest banking scandal.

In the final analysis, much as Lee Kuan Yew down the road in Singapore strove to create a nation in his own image and largely succeeded, so did Mahathir. Both nations are flawed – Singapore in its mixture of technological and social prowess and draconian ruthlessness against an independent press or opposition, Malaysia with its iconic twin towers and its other attributes colored by a deepening culture of corruption that has continued well beyond his reign, which ended in 2003. Mahathir must bear the blame for much of this, in particular his destruction of an independent judiciary, as Wain writes, to further his aims.

Mahathir, as the former premier said in the conversation over his mansion and his car, had everything including, one suspects, a fully-developed sense of injustice. He appears to this day to continue to resent much of the west, particularly the British. Wain writes exhaustively of Mahathir’s deep antagonism over both British elitism during the colonial days and the disdain of his fellow Malays (Mahathir’s parentage is partly Indian Muslim on his father’s side), especially the Malay royalty. That antagonism against the British has been a hallmark of his career – from the time he instituted the "Buy British Last" policy for the Malaysian government as prime minister to the present day.

Robert Mugabe, in disgrace across much of the world for the way his policies have destroyed what was one of the richest countries in Africa, remains in Mahathir’s good graces. Asked recently why that was, an aide told me Mugabe had driven the British out of Zimbabwe and was continuing to drive out white farmers to this day, although he was replacing them with people who knew nothing of farming. That expropriation of vast tracts of white-owned land might have destroyed Zimbabwe’s agricultural production. But, the aide said, "He got the Brits out."

For anybody wishing to understand Mahathir and the nation he transformed, Wain’s book is going to be a must – but bring spectacles. The tiny type and gray typeface make it a difficult read.

Dr M: Keep the BTN course

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels that that the course curriculum of the National Civics Bureau’s (Biro Tatanegara) should be be retained.

The former prime minister said having delivered lectures at BTN several times, including speaking on the country’s history, he found the course to be appropriate.

He said the BTN served its purpose in explaining to government officers the importance of being committed to their service for the good of the nation.

While people sometimes misunderstood the values taught under BTN to create a progressive culture, Dr Mahathir said he did not see the course's module as being negative.

Speaking after opening the World AIDS Day 2009 commemoration event at the Wangsa Walk Mall yesteday, Dr Mahathir said: “However, deciding on whether the BTN should be revamped or not is the government’s responsibility.”

He said it was true that the BTN modules touched on the country’s history, including about the origins of the Malays, Chinese and Indians, adding that there was nothing wrong with that.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on the a recent statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that the BTN would be reviewed to mirror the 1Malaysia concept.

The relevance of BTN had been hotly debated following the Selangor government’s decision to bar its civil servants and students of state-owned institutions of higher learning from attending the course. Selangor claimed that it was a Barisan Nasional (BN) effort to indoctrinate the people.

“There is nothing negative about BTN as the module is appropriate to instill awareness about nationalism,” said Dr Mahathir.

Commenting on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for an independent observer from Australia to oversee Malaysia’s 13th general elections, Dr Mahathir said: “That is his (Anwar’s) style. He prefers to trust the white people and not the Malays.”

To a question on the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), Dr Mahathir said a study on the matter should be done first, with feedback from all stakeholders. He said it was important that the GST did not add burden to the people.

In his keynote address at the function yesterday, Dr Mahathir called on non-governmental organisations and the private sector to assist the government in educating the public on avoiding diseases such as AIDs.

He said ignorance was the main reason for the spread of AIDs, adding that with early education from young, the rise in rise spread of such diseases could be curbed.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Nazri calls Dr M a racist for defending NCB


KUALA LUMPUR: Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has called Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a racist for defending the National Civics Bureau (NCB) training modules.

Nazri said that while he agreed with the former prime minister’s sentiments about patriotism, he felt it was not the sole rights of the Malays.

“There are many of those who came out from the course very angry as many have felt that terms like Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) is ridiculous.

“When he was prime minister he asked everyone to think as Malay-sians. Now that he is not, he’s asking everyone to think otherwise.

“If you want to talk about patriotism, it is for all,” he said when asked about the issue at Parliament lobby yesterday.

Stressing that he disagreed with any syllabus that concentrated only on one community, Nazri wanted the Opposition to point out which part of the proposed revamp of the training modules they were unhappy with.

Nazri also reminded the Oppo-sition that some of them had been directly involved with the bureau.

“Selangor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Hassan Ali was a former bureau director. Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul was also once a bureau officer.

“Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s father-in-law was formerly involved with the bureau as well,” added Nazri.

Meanwhile in Cyberjaya, Dr Maha-thir described the criticism levelled against the bureau’s modules, which had been around for more than 20 years, as mere exaggeration as nobody who had attended the programme had complained about it.

“The participants had always found the courses useful because they taught about new cultures and new values like discipline, honesty and to reject corruption. I don’t see what is wrong with that,” he said after witnessing the signing of an agreement between RHB Islamic Bank Berhad and Joyful Gateway Sdn Bhd on the construction of a green building.

Dr Mahathir said that when Malaysia’s history was discussed, it would be mentioned that this country was once called Tanah Melayu.

“Now it is Malaysia because we have people who have come to settle down here. That is a fact of history. You can’t deny facts and history. But if we can’t even mention that, then we are denying history,” he said.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dr Mahathir pours scorn on Lee Kuan Yew’s oratory skills

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed has poured scorn on the oratory skills of Singapore’s former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew in a documentary – “Mahathir” shown on the Starhub History Channel last Sunday at 8pm.

The two-part documentary relates the tumultuous political career of Dr Mahathir who lost his parliamentary seat in the 1969 election and was sacked from his party UMNO before making a stunning comeback as Education Minister in 1974.

Dr Mahathir was to become Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister in 1981. He is credited with modernizing Malaysia which was largely an agricultural country back then.

The elder statesman was no fan of Lee and had several heated arguments with him in the Dewan Rakyat when Singapore was part of Malaysia in the period 1963 – 65.

In the documentary, Dr Mahathir criticized Lee for his propensity to give long speeches. He claimed that Lee became flustered after he interjected his speech repeatedly with sharp questions which he could not answer.

Both parties almost come to blows with each other in a heated exchange on 25 September 1964 when Dr Mahathir (then MP for Alor Star) made the following stinging remark towards Lee in the Dewan Rakyat:

“They (Singaporean Chinese) have never known Malay rule and cannot bear the idea that the people they have so long kept under their heels should now be in a position to rule them.”

Lee Kuan Yew shot back:

“Of course there are Chinese millionaires in big cars and big houses. Is it the answer to make a few Malay millionaires with big cars and big houses? … If we delude people into believing that they are poor because there are no Malay rights or because opposition members oppose Malay rights, where are we going to end up?”

Relationships between Singapore and Malaysia were prickly during Mahathir’s reign as Prime Minister and were frequently strained over unresolved bilateral issues like the sale of water to Singapore from the southern state of Johor.

Lee did not visit Dr Mahathir during his recent visit to Malaysia in June which drew a sarcastic remark from the latter than he was not a important figure.

True to his combative nature, Dr Mahathir wrote an acerbic article on his blog chedet lampooning Lee as a “little emperor”:

“During Lee Kuan Yew’s triumphant visit to Malaysia he made it known to the Malaysian supplicants that Singapore regards the lands within 6000 miles radius of Singapore as its hinterland. This includes Beijing and Tokyo and of course Malaysia……..All those who met the great man from the little country were lectured on how Malaysia should be run. We should not have anymore problems now. We have been told the direction to take……I have a lot more to say about this little Emperor but I will reserve it for later.”

Surprisingly, the litigious Lee has never sued Dr Mahathir for defamation in court despite the latter’s obvious contempt for him.

In fact, Lee was forced to issue a rather humiliating public apology to the Malaysian government led by Dr Mahathir in 1997 when he made disparaging remarks about Johor being an unsafe place “notorious for shootings, robberies and car-jacking” in an affidavit filed against WP candidate Tang Liang Hong for defamation.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sabah saved BN: Mahathir said

Kota Kinabalu: Barisan Nasional (BN) is lucky Sabah delivered in the worst-ever electoral performance by the ruling coalition last year.

BN may no longer be ruling the country if not for its performance in Sabah during the 2008 General Elections, said former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohammad.

"Presently BN is still in power at the central level. But if in Sabah BN did not get votes during the 2008 General Elections will it still be in power todayÉ we were lucky, just lucky," he said.

"If previously it was the peninsula which supported Sabah, now Sabah supports the peninsula É kalau lah ada kesedaran (only if there is conscience)," he added.

Towards this end he said Umno, the backbone of BN, needs to change if it does not want to meet the same fate of those political parties in other countries during the pre-independence era which contributed to their respective country's independence but now no longer exist.

Many of these political parties which fought for their independence no longer exist like the Masyumi Party in Indonesia, the Muslim League in Pakistan as well as the earlier political parties in Africa and so on. He said these parties, which had support from their people during the pre-independence era, could not continue because they lost the people's support.

"We need to ask ourselves why freedom fighters were rejected by the citizens of a country which they successfully freed from colonialists. If we do not know then we may end up following their footsteps and we will become a party that is no longer relevant and will be rejected by the rakyat," he said during a programme called "Wacana Ilmu: Generation of Post Independence" held at Pacific Sutera Hotel, Saturday.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman opened the programme organised jointly by the Puteri, Pemuda and Wanita Umno Sabah movements. Other Umno Sabah senior leaders were also present. Mahathir, who was also former President of Umno, said based on his own observation those political parties which fought for and gained independence for their country easily forgot the reasons for their success.

"They were successful because of their promises to free their country from the colonialists, so that they can govern their country themselves and when this happened the people believed they can take care of their own people's interests, those who gave their full trust and support to their party," he said.

But after gaining independence for their country, they forgot that they are fighting for their people and not for their own interest.

"They changed É they wanted to gain power for themselves, fulfil their self-interest and to get the highest posts for themselves, forgetting their promises to the people that the Government they form would be more fair and considerate to the people than the colonialists," he said.

"When the people realised the party no longer fought for them, for the people, then they felt frustrated and their support for the party slowly faded. In the end the party became weaker and weaker and then vanished," he said.

"That's why today we are no longer talking about the Masyumi Party, the Muslim League and others which existed during the pre-independence eraÉto the extent that now no one knows about their existence or people have forgotten about them."

Mahathir said similarly Umno also fought for the country's independence and this led to the formation of Malaysia. Mahathir said, however, the post-independence leaders of Umno, those who were born after Merdeka, seem to no longer remember about the party's struggles to achieve independence.

"They seem to believe that they were born in a country which already achieved independence, and thus the struggles for independence no longer have any meaning for them É to them Malaysia has already achieved independence and thus what is the need to appreciate the struggles for independence and those struggles of the founding fathers of Umno," he said.

"They also see many opportunities to improve their living conditions.

There are many young leaders of this party who also think their participation will guarantee their positions and income. Their struggles are no longer for the race, religion and nation but for getting a post, power which can bring them richness É then we have what is now called 'money politics'," he said.

He said they aim to get the highest position in the government, to become a Cabinet Minister or even Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister, because the higher they get the more money they will have.

"That is all their struggle is. And to achieve their struggles, they think if they can give money to certain people concerned they will get support and become the head of various levels available É and then they want to remain there, their whole life, and unfortunately our party system is like that where they can use money to retain their post.

"This is happening very glaringly in the peninsula, even the party branch-level chief," he said.

Mahathir also said that educated Malays who wanted to join Umno also feel it is hard to do so now because of the presence of party branch chiefs who wanted to retain their post and who feel the presence of these educated Malays as members of their branch will be a threat to them.

"Because the party constitution states that those wanting to become Umno members must join through the branch, the branch chiefs do not permit those who have qualification higher than him to join their branch.

"Besides, they do not want too many members in their respective branches because more money would be needed to retain their post," he said.

This is unlike PAS which welcomes all, educated or not, and any of those joining the party will get a chance to contest, hold a position and so on, he said, adding many educated Malays had approached him and told him they wanted to join the party but could not due to this problem.

"The people are watching this. They are not happy with the turmoil happening in Umno and they cannot voice it out because there are efforts to shut up those want to criticise, including myself," he said.

He said it is easy and there are various means for anyone to control Umno, but "we must not forget there is an election É people as the voters see what is happening in Umno and will exercise their voting power when the time comes," he said, adding these signs were also seen in the previous two general elections.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Religious lectures with a political motive cannot be trusted: Dr M

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 14 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested that politicians get commissioned as religious preachers if they want to conduct "ceramah" (talks) on Islam so as to avert disunity and confusion among Muslims in the country.

"I notice that many politicians conduct religious lectures without having been commissioned to do so. Religious lectures with a political motive cannot be trusted.

"The commissioning is to ensure that the lectures adhere to the true Islamic teachings propagated by Prophet Muhammad," he told reporters after opening the annual general meeting of the United Sabah Islamic Association (USIA), here on Saturday.

Dr Mahathir, who is president of the Malaysian Muslim Welfare Organisation (Perkim), said it was feared that the differences of opinion among certain Muslim personalities would be misinterpreted by Muslims and lead to disunity and factions.

He also said that the commissioning of the religious preachers would also ensure that true Islamic teachings were disseminated in all the states.

"We find that some people can preach, while some cannot. Some states can accept a certain preacher, while others cannot," he said.

He said differences of opinion among Muslims could occur but this should not necessarily lead to enmity.

He also said that Muslims should not neglect other knowledge in their quest for religious excellence.

"We should not confine ourselves to preaching only. If we want to tell others about the distinction of Islam, but are seen as poor, weak and dependent, then how can we convince them about Islam?" he asked.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dr Mahathir Closes Conference to Criminalize War

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Mathaba) The former Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 84, spoke at 4.20pm local time addressing the closing session of the conference to criminalise war, which took place yesterday and today in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, at the initiative of the Perdana Global Peace Organization.

The initiative has received no international media publicity, but drew the attendance of some of the victims of torture and war who will testify at a War Crimes Tribunal which is to start tomorrow, as well as delegates and speakers from around the world, notably former US Congresswoman and Presidential Candidate, Cynthia McKinney as well as two former United Nations Secretary Generals.

Dr Mahathir pointed out at the start of his speech that the leader of this world, who preaches democracy, is willing to kill people and the member countries of this world have no right to remove him when he becomes a monster. Therefore, we should strive for a more democratic world, so that the President of the country that leads the world, should be voted in for a period of time.

He said that he followed the opinion of George Galloway, Member of Parliament of Britain, that we should distinguish between good Jews and bad Jews, and I agree entirely, I have many Jewish friends. But it should also not be allowed to call all Muslims terrorists, there are good Muslims and good Muslim terrorists, he joked to laughter of the audience.

Dr Mahathir recounted the story of a friend who has a name with "A/L" in his passport, and was asked what the meaning of this is. He explained that this means "son of" in Malaysian but as a result he was pulled out of the crowd and examined, because in Arabic "son of" is "Bin" which is unfair, and so not all Muslims should be cast as terrorists, he explained.

He also spoke about the military, as a Malaysian retired General yesterday had addressed the possible good uses of the military, and he explained that the military is like a sharp knife that can make beautiful carvings, but can also kill.

He revealed that he asked a former CIA director "you hate Dr Mahathir so much, why don't you kill him" to which he received the reply "we don't want to make him a martyr" and that they felt he would be an "over" case within a few years, but he has kept on living and living, he said to the cheers of the almost 1,000 strong audience at the Merdeka Hall in the PWTC Conference Centre.

Cynthia McKinney, then summed up, by thanking Dr Mahathir and his wife Dr Siti, as well as the Perdana Peace Foundation and the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalize War as well the Tribunal which is next to come. She said that she is embarrassed by what her country has done, and that she had the chance to first meet torture victim Sami Hajj during "Operation Dignity" where they tried to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. During this attempt the Israeli military rammed their boat, and left them to die, drifting in the sea, along with many other human rights activists. She said she protested in front of a U.S. embassy in 2007 in an orange jump suit, attempting to have the prisoners released. She said that these actions of the U.S. do not come to her as a surprise, as the descendant of Africans enslaved by the Europeans in America, she knows what they are capable of.

She pointed out that democracy in the United States of America is very limited, even by electronic counting that has votes goes missing, but also via the presence of special interest lobbies that finance the campaigns and political parties, and that this has to come to an end. She revealed that she sometimes thinks of giving up, but that she may run again for Congress. She said that she is happy to be included in the Perdana Peace "family" and is always happy to meet the wonderful people of Malaysia.

Dr Mahathir said that the odd thing about 9/11 was that all 3 buildings collapsed rapidly straight down, as if they had explosives already inserted in certain places, and not from the effect of the aircraft hitting them, but due to a demolition method. He wondered why the 3rd building collapsed in the same way (WTC7) although it was not hit by any aircraft. The collapse of this building had been admitted by its jewish owner, as a controlled demolition when he said "we pulled it."

Michel Chussodovsky confirmed this, and that in a bitter irony both the CNN and the BBC had announced the collapse of WTC7 20 minutes before they actually collapsed. While the BBC reporter was saying this being filmed in front of WTC7, showed the building still up, and he wondered how any one could have known this without foreknowledge.

Dr Mahathir said that obviously there have been a lot of lies behind these wars, and he called upon Mr Sami Al Hajj of Sudan, the Al Jazeera reporter who was abducted and falsely imprisoned and tortured in Afghanistan and Guantanemo. Mr Sami gave his thanks for the conference and its organisers and those who have attended it.

Moazzam Begg, another torture and "extraordinary rendition" victim, said that after more than 300 sessions of questions and interrogation by British Intelligence officers, he has to thank them for enabling him to become more eloquent. The last time in history that people were brought over to America in chains was that of the West Africans who were mostly Muslims, and that this is now the first time since then that this has occurred again. A Black American soldier came to this realisation with him. He said it is not easy to stop an institution like the CIA, but that if they close Guantanamo, they will not be doing us any favours as it should not have been there to begin with. He wondered how somebody (Barack Obama) could be receiving a nobel peace prize while ordering drone attacks, and that the one to receive that prize should be Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

In closing, Moazzam Begg, of Cage Prisoners, said there is something special about this place, Malaysia, and that he feels comfortable and at home.

Dr Mahathir, said that there are four other panel members who are not on the stage, and that he was told they do not mind, but that if any of them want to speak they would be welcome.

Dr Souad, Vice Chancellor of the University of Syria, said that those who ordered war need to be criminalised, also for their use of illegal weapons, destroying a country, and creating diseases that are killing a nation, as well as for stealing the resources of nations. She said that "we have to act together to make this happen, each one in his or her own simple way". She called upon everyone to help us in Iraq to stand and resist and liberate our country, choking back tears. "We need all the hope we can get." She pointed out that it is an invasion and not a liberation and that we have to stand up to these people. She also said that we do not need a "Nobel Peace Prize" for Dr Mahathir, because he has already received it from the hearts of good people.

Dr Mahathir thanked Dr Souad and said that he believes the world as well as those in this hall, have heard her appeal and would extend whatever help that they can.

Dirk Adriaensens, an anti-war activist from Europe, thanked the organisers of the Conference for being able to be here and make his contribution and network with other peace activists.

Leuren Moret, an Uranium expert and whistleblower at the U.S. weapons research facility, gave her final contribution to the conference, recounting history where Americans had a huge treasure of gold from Japan and that they decided to keep it a secret. This became a secret fund to defeat all democratic movements around the world after "World War 2" and President Mossadeq was the first legitimate President overthrown with that fund. $200 million dollars has recently been sent to Iran to defeat (democratically elected) President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. She said that it is our "spiritual power" that will defeat the war mongers, as Dr Matrin Luther King had said "spiritual power will defeat military power."

Hana Bayati, freelance film maker from Europe, gave her closing remarks to the Conference saying that the Genocide Convention says we have an obligation to prevent such events. She said she is convinced the Iraqis will liberate their country, but that if there is no accountability, such crimes will happen again. She hopes that the criminalisation can be extended not only to the perpetrators but to the beneficiaries, the companies that have made huge profits on the misery of the Iraqi people.

Dr Mahathir then wrapped up the Conference by saying that many proposals have come from the Conference which should not be ignored. Among the proposals, is the setting up of a fund for those people held in Guantanamo who cannot find asylum, where already 2 members of the panel had contributed a total sum at $3,000. He said that Perdana would contribute and assist with collection for the fund. Malaysia's former Prime Minister and Chairman of the Perdana Global Peace Foundation and the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War said that although there will be some disappointment because not all the criminals would be brought to justice, but the trial that will begin tomorrow will try to focus on a few individuals who were mainly responsible for the crime of invading Iraq.

He revealed there had been a request to make a resolution, and that if those present found it proper, we may support the resolution and that later we may find a way of making it proper. That would be that all prisoners of Guantanamo and other prisons be either released or tried for whatever crimes they may have committed. If we do pass that resolution, and other organisations in the world join us in the same resolution, this could then be forwarded to those responsible. A unanimous show of hands of around 1,000 attendees at the conference, showed support for the resolution.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, called upon all those present as well as those who have left, that the call of several of the speakers to take some steps to pursue this idea to criminalise war, be heeded. The very least is that each person can talk to others about this, and those with contacts abroad should be contacted and told that war is a crime and that "there is a need for us to make it a crime" and that those responsible for it "should be designated criminals, and tried and punished for their crimes."

He also addressed the request that Malaysia provide asylum, and that as he is no longer the Prime Minister, all he can do and will do, is to appeal to the government to allow them to stay here. He is told that there are around 12,000 Iraqis in Malaysia, and he believes that a few more coming to Malaysia will not hurt us, and said that they would be welcome to make Malaysia their second home.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Anwar's suit against Dr M - dismissed

KUALA LUMPUR: The Court of Appeal has allowed an application by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to strike out Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal on his RM100mil defamation suit against the former Prime Minister.

This means that Anwar’s appeal, which was to have been heard on Nov 2 in the Court of Appeal, has been dismissed.

The court’s three-man bench, comprising Justices Abdul Malik Ishak, Azhar Maah and Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad, made the unanimous ruling after standing-down for an hour to deliberate on the matter.

“We had anxiously perused through the arguments with a fine-tooth comb and deliberated on the matter thoroughly.

“After applying appropriate and judicious consideration, we are glad to announce we have reached a unanimous decision – the appellant’s appeal is dismissed with costs,” said Justice Abdul Malik.

He added that the full grounds for the judgement would be ready in due course.

Dr Mahathir’s counsel Datuk V.K. Lingam in his submission contended that Anwar’s Memorandum of Appeal, which had only been filed in English, was in “blatant disregard” to provisions in the Federal Con­stitution, the National Language Act, the Interpretation Act and the Rules of the Court of Appeal.

He also said that the memorandum was invalid as it was not signed by Anwar’s lawyers, was not specifically dated, and that a chronology of events had not been included, among others.

Anwar’s counsel Karpal Singh, however, said that Lingam’s application was suspect, as he did not apply for the court’s permission to submit in English.

“We accept that there are defects but they are not fatal. The courts do not, as days of old, go on the issues of technicalities.

“The case ought to be heard on its merits, and we have enough time to cure the defects. We urge the court to use its discretion,” he said in asking the court to dismiss Dr Mahathir’s application.

On Jan 27, 2006, Anwar filed the suit against Dr Mahathir for allegedly portraying him as a man of no morals and who was dangerous to Malaysian society.

Anwar alleged that Dr Mahathir had publicly uttered such words to journalists at a conference organised by Suhakam on Sept 9, 2005, knowing that he (Anwar) had been acquitted and discharged by the Federal Court on Sept 2, 2004 on charges of sodomy, and also after the Kuala Lumpur High Court had ruled in his favour on Aug 18, 2005 on a defamation suit he had brought against the author of the book 50 Dalil Mengapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM.

On Jan 5, 2007, Dr Mahathir filed the application saying that Anwar’s writ of summons and statement of claim should be struck out because it was scandalous, frivolous or vexatious.

The High Court dismissed Anwar’s suit on July 4, 2007, and he subsequently filed his appeal on July 5, 2007, against that decision.

Dr M is against IJN privatisation

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the alleged new privatisation plan for the National Heart Institute (IJN) will defeat the purpose why the IJN was set up.

The former premier said this when asked if such a move by the IJN board of directors would undermine
the function of the hospital which was to accord affordable health services.

Dr Mahathir, himself once a patient at IJN, said many people were looking at the profitability of the IJN.

“Some people are being influenced by this,” he said, but added that was not what IJN was set up for.

Dr Mahathir was an instrumental figure in the formation of IJN, which was once part of Kuala Lumpur General Hospital until 1992 when it was corporatised.

IJN provides services for cardiovascular and thoracic health.

A previous privatisation attempt was in December 2008, when it was discovered that Sime Darby Bhd had plans to acquire a 51 per cent stake in IJN Holdings Sdn Bhd, that ran the heart institute.

The plan however failed when there was a huge public outcry and strong opposition from the blogging fraternity, with even Dr Mahathir voicing his disapproval.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ong and Chua should resign : Dr M

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants MCA delegates to vote for a clean leader at the party’s extraordinary general meeting.

“Leaders must be as clean as possible. It is not the opinion of one’s supporters that is important. Public acceptance is far more important,” the former prime minister said.

“We have had tainted leaders who appeared to be accepted by the party but the general election results would verify or reject the appearance of support,” he said in an interview with the news portal Malaysian Mirror.

Dr Mahathir was asked for his comments ahead of the MCA EGM, where 2,380 delegates would decide the fate of its two leaders, Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

“The MCA may reach greater heights under your leadership but acceptance by Malaysia’s multi-racial voters is more important,” he added.

Dr Mahathir said the winner needed to quickly accommodate those in the losing camp to ensure the party regain its lost strength and be an “attractive” party again for the Chinese community.

Mahathir and Abdullah To Attend Umno General Assembly

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 (Bernama) -- Former Umno presidents Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi have confirmed their attendance to the Umno General Assembly's opening ceremony on Thursday.

Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor told Bernama that the two statesmen had been invited as guests of honour.

He said Abdullah would also be a delegate to the assembly owing to his position as the Kepala Batas Umno division chief.

This will be Abdullah's first Umno general assembly as a guest of honour after relinquishing his posts as party president last March and as prime minister in April.

For Dr Mahathir, this will be his first attendance to the general assembly after rejoining the party in April 4 this year.

Dr Mahathir left Umno on May 19 last year, saying he had lost confidence in the leadership of the party he once led for 22 years.

However, in the Umno General Assembly in March this year, he attended the closing ceremony as a guest.

He rejoined the party shortly after and retained his Umno membership number 0000001 while his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali retained the number 0000002.

Dr Mahathir was once expelled from the party -- on Sept 26, 1969 -- during Tunku Abdul Rahman's tenure for criticising the leadership of the country's first prime minister but was accepted back on March 7, 1972 when Tun Abdul Razak Hussein became the prime minister.

When met at a Hari Raya get-together organised by Police Special Action Force, Dr Mahathir said he would attend the opening ceremony.

He also hoped that Umno would restore confidence among the people and return to its true struggle as spelled out in party constitution.

Asked on Barisan Nasional candidate Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad's victory in the Bagan Pinang by-election, Dr Mahathir said it should be seen in the larger context of preparing for the 13th general election.

"We should not be overzealous. Don't let this victory lull us into complacency," he said.

Monday, October 12, 2009

BN's win at Bagan Pinang - expected

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had expected the Barisan Nasional (BN) to retain the Bagan Pinang state seat as it was the coalition's stronghold.

"I am very happy. From the beginning I had predicted we (BN) will win as that is our area. Isa (Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad) is strong there and the Indians also supported him.

"I believed he would win although another (BN) candidate would also have won. Now we have to look after other areas.

"We can win in opposition areas," Dr Mahathir told reporters after attending a Hari Raya function organised by the Pusat Bandar Cempaka Umno branch here on Sunday night.

He reminded party members not to be swayed by the win to the point of forgetting to discharge the duties that they had been entrusted with.

"If Umno becomes very passionate with the win in one place while losing in other areas...if we lose (sight of) our responsibilities, I believe that in the coming general election maybe we will not achieve a good victory or we will not win," he said.

Asked if the win in Bagan Pinang was a sign that Umno was accepted in the area, he said it was a fact that the party had support in the area.

"If we are not careful, do not care for the problems of the people, do not have a programme to win the hearts of the people...eventhough we win in Bagan Pinang, we may not win in other areas. We cannot be too passionate," Dr Mahathir said.

In the Bagan Pinang state by-election today, BN defended the seat when its candidate Mohd Isa defeated Pas' Zulkefly Mohamad Omar with a majority of 5,435 votes.

Mohd Isa garnered 8,013 votes against Zulkefly's 2,578 votes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dr M advises Malay students study with other races


DUNGUN: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has urged Malay students to enrol in institutions of higher learning with an equal racial breakdown if they wished to maintain a competitive edge.

“Malays must accept that there are people of other races in this country, and they should interact with them too,” he said after attending a discussion entitled “Malay Supremacy” at UiTM here yesterday.

“(Malay students) should also realise that the world out there is diverse and filled with various ethnic groups and should (make an effort) to foster relationships (with other races) if they want to be more competent.”

Dr Mahathir said, through interaction with other races, Malays would be able to sustain a superlative academic standard through healthy competition.

“The foremost element to achieving this is to accept that this country is a plural society.”

On another matter, Dr Mahathir said he hoped Barisan Nasional would only select aspirants with the highest integrity as candidates in future elections.

Those with tainted background would certainly bring forth a negative perception of Barisan, he said.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Najib dismisses Dr M protests over Isa candidacy

PEKAN, Oct 3 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said voters in Bagan Pinang should choose wisely and pick the candidate who would be best able to serve them.

He said the by-election for the state seat on Oct 11 was not one that could alter the government but was only to choose an elected representative to serve them.

“As expected, it is a straight fight (in Bagan Pinang). As such, we urge voters to evaluate wisely as to who among the candidates can best serve them.

“In a by-election, what is important is the service an elected representative can render. He should be able to resolve the problems voters face, this is the yardstick. Like in Bagan Pinang,” he told reporters after presenting aid to 161 people from the Pekan parliamentary constituency who will be performing the Haj, here today. Najib is also the MP for Pekan.

The Bagan Pinang by-election will see a straight fight between the Barisan Nasional’s Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, who is also former Negeri Sembilan mentri besar, and Zulkefly Mohamad Omar, the Negeri Sembilan PAS commissioner.

Asked about comments by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that Isa should not have been picked as the BN’s candidate in the by-election, Najib: “I do not think the matter arises any longer, we must look forward. What is important is the service the assemblyman can offer the constituents.”

On untoward incidents that happened during the nomination process today including an incident which involved Putera Umno chief Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahimm who claimed to have been punched by a supporter of the opposition, Najib said such incidents would not happen if everyone showed respect for the law.

“If he was punched, I hope he makes a police report. We should not be doing anything that is against the law and this includes roughing up someone.

“We should also be showing good examples, showing respect to the democratic process is one of them.” said Najib. — Bernama

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mahathir visits 1M'sia F1Team's suite at S'pore GP

SINGAPORE: The 1Malaysia F1 Team has already won a major fan in former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the man who brought F1 into Malaysia about 10 years ago.

The statesman spent about 30 minutes at the 1MF1T's Paddock Club Suite at the Singapore GP here during the main race on Sunday that was won by McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Mahathir was briefed on the Lotus F1 car engine by the team's Chief Technical Officer Mike Gascoyne.

1MF1T Principal, Datuk Seri Tony Fernandes together with Team Directors Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, SM Nasarudin SM Nasimudin and Zahari Ismail had earlier taken Mahathir on a tour of the Paddock and met with participating drivers and manufacturers.

Fernandes said: "Mahathir's presence gives a great boost to our team especially at this infancy stage. It was his passion towards F1 that inspired us to come up with the1Malaysia F1 Team".

"This endeavour is a true Malaysian dream, fuelled by Malaysian pride and powered by Malaysian hopes and aspirations. The 1Malaysia F1 Team is all about working together to give our youth the chance to be the leading engineers of tomorrow," he added.

Youth and Sports Minister, Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek also spent some time at the 1MF1T Paddock Club Suite later.

He said that Malaysians should view the 1Malaysia F1 Team's participation in the 2010 F1 season as a source of pride and joy.

"The entire country should welcome the Lotus F1 Team's debut in F1 next year because it would take Malaysian motorsports to a different level at a time when the country needed it.

"Motorsports and in particular F1 racing, is no easy business. It takes courage, determination and of course the technical skills to put together a team to compete at the very highest level.

And the fact that we are determined to have a Malaysian team in F1 is ample proof of that," said the Minister.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dr Mahathir in full support for Makkal Sakthi

Dr Mahathir all for Makkal Sakthi

By B. Suresh Ram

KUALA LUMPUR: The latest Indian-based political party in the country - Makkal Sakthi - can bring in the much-needed support for Barisan Nasional, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The former prime minister said BN needed to regain the support of the Indian community.

"Due to the overwhelming support for the formation of this party, I feel it is something good, as we do not want to lose the support of the Indian community."

Speaking after hosting a Hari Raya Aidilfitri open house at his residence in Seri Kembangan yesterday, Dr Mahathir said the formation of the party was timely since the support from the Indian community for MIC was waning.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are all smiles as they make their way to the VIP table at Dr Mahathir’s open house at The Mines in Seri Kembangan yesterday. The prime minister, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, spent about 45 minutes with Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at the do that also attracted thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak are all smiles as they make their way to the VIP table at Dr Mahathir’s open house at The Mines in Seri Kembangan yesterday. The prime minister, accompanied by his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, spent about 45 minutes with Dr Mahathir and his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali at the do that also attracted thousands of Malaysians from all walks of life.

"The new party has proven it has good support from the Indians."

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is expected to launch Makkal Sakthi on Oct 10.

Dr Mahathir also took a dig at his former cabinet minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, when asked on reports that the MIC president might take a two-month break.

He said instead of taking a two-month break, Samy Vellu should consider continuing the break for another 20 years.

"Two months is not enough... he can't be staying there as MIC president for 30 years. He has been around longer than me."

On reports that Tan Sri Isa Samad was in the running to be the BN candidate for the Bagan Pinang state by-election on Oct 11, Dr Mahathir said the former Negri Sembilan menteri besar should say he did not want to be nominated and instead, throw his support behind whoever the BN leadership chose.

He added that in that way, Isa would endear himself to all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mahathir wants a CLEAN candidate for Bagan Pinang

Surprise, surprise. Mahathir talking about corruption-free candidates for UMNO when corruption was rampant and at its peak during his reign as Prime Minister.

SEREMBAN: Umno should pick a candidate who is free of money politics (vote-buying) for the Bagan Pinang state by-election, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday.

He believed that the Barisan Nasional could win the by-election on Oct 11 with a big majority because the seat was Umno’s stronghold.

Having corruption-free candidates would be a very important factor in Bagan Pinang as well as in the next general election, he told reporters after attending Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan’s Aidilfitri open house in Rantau here.

“For me, it’s not just this place. The people throughout Malaysia want to know whether we are serious about eradicating money politics, corruption and so forth,” he said.

If Umno fielded an candidate who was not clean, it might win in Bagan Pinang but would lose in other constituencies, he said.

He also feared that the party would lose badly in the 13th general election if the trend continued.

“I’m not thinking about individuals. I know everyone and I don’t care about anyone but I’m thinking only of the party,” he said.

The Bagan Pinang seat fell vacant following the death of incumbent Azman Mohamad Noor of the Barisan on Sept 4. Nomination is on Oct 3. -- Bernama

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lee Kuan Yew threaten to go to war with Malaysia?

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 26, 2009) : Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today that former Singapore premier Lee Kuan Yew did not threaten to go to war if Malaysia did not supply water to the republic.

"If he had done that, I think I would have stopped any further supply," Dr Mahathir said in an article posted in his blog today.

Mahathir however admitted that he had persuaded Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to supply water to Singapore when the latter was Johor Mentri Besar.

"Tan Sri Muhyiddin spoke the truth about my persuading him to supply water to Singapore.

"But Lee Kuan Yew did not threaten to go to war if we did not supply water. If he had done that, I think I would have stopped any further supply," Dr Mahathir said when commenting on Muhyiddin's statement on Aug 19 that he (Dr Mahathir) had summoned him to attend a meeting with Lee over gas pipeline and water supply issues in Kuala Lumpur.

Muhyiddin had said that during the meeting between Dr Mahathir, the then finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, Lee and himself, Lee had pressed for adequate water supply to the republic from Johor.

"Lee said Singapore was ready to go to war if Malaysia did not want to supply enough water, and expressed his regret over the stalled water supply project from Sungai Lingu," said Muhyiddin

"I said we did not have the money and Lee said Singapore was willing to bear the cost and, when completed, the assets will be owned by Malaysia, so Singapore had merely footed the bill," he said at a ceramah in Tanjung Putus, Bukit Mertajam, during the campaign in the Permatang Pasir state by-election to clarify allegations by the opposition that he (Muhyiddin) had sold a piece of land to Singapore in connection with the water treatment plant in Sungai Lingu, Bandar Tenggara, Johor.

Dr Mahathir said in his blog he did not know about the sale of land to Singapore, but as it was agreed that a treatment plant be built by Singapore in Johor, land would have to be made available.

"We were at that time trying to be friendly with Singapore in order to solve several problems. Although raw water would be supplied at 3 sen per 1,000 gallons, the understanding was that in future only treated water would be supplied when our treatment plants would be ready," said Mahathir.

"We would also not buy any more treated water from Singapore at 50 sen per thousand gallons when our new treatment plant in Johor is ready. When we no longer needed to buy treated water from Singapore we could raise the price of raw water to Singapore without Singapore being able to raise the price of treated water to us," he added.

"However, when we concluded the water supply agreement, Singapore raised a lot of issues regarding our railway land, the CIQ (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) at Tanjong Pagar, training flights by Singapore warplanes over Malaysia and the Central Provident Fund. "

At that stage, I realised that being friendly with Singapore did not pay," Dr Mahathir added. -- BERNAMA

Dr M wants BN to learn from LDP lesson

By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 11 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the man who asked Malaysia to look east, and he now believes the sun could be setting on the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

In a posting on his blog today, Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister warned that it was not entirely impossible that the next election could see the same phenomenon in Japan happen to BN.

“The only thing that could save the BN is the lack-lustre performance of the opposition. The alternative is not a real alternative”.

“But if the performance of the BN government and parties fail to gain confidence, the frustrated voters might just do what the Japanese voters did — dump the party they had supported for more than half a century.”

Japan’s LDP recently lost the elections, ending more than half a century of nearly uninterrupted rule, and observers here have begun to draw parallels with political developments affecting BN.

BN lost its traditional two-thirds majority in last year’s general elections and has been struggling with attempts to reform.

Dr Mahathir, who was a trenchant critic of Tun Abdullah Badawi’s administration, has warmed to Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s government. But he continues to be critical of the corruption and lack of direction that has beset Umno and other BN parties.

He wrote in his blog today that based on his assessment of the current situation, it was likely BN and Umno could share the same fate of parties like Japan’s LDP.

The Malaysian Insider reported today that according to a new poll of voters in peninsular Malaysia, power still hangs in the balance with BN having a slight edge.

A significant number of voters still appear undecided, and their backing remains up for grabs between BN and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) parties.

“In just three years time the new elections will be held. Time is obviously running short.”

“Unless some drastic change is shown in the way the country is run and the people are served, BN will join the other grand old party in the rubbish heap of history,” said Dr Mahathir.

He said that there was no doubt the rot had set in and that corruption was now rampant in Umno and other component parties.

Without naming anyone, Dr Mahathir said that power had emasculated many BN leaders, and pointed out that many of them were clinging on to power even though they had outlived their usefulness.

The former PM did however criticised his old friend and ally Datuk Seri S Samy Vellu a day earlier in an interview with a Tamil newspaper, and called for the MIC president to make way for younger leaders in the party.

“Malaysia’s voters, especially the Malays, have always been strongly loyal. Yet there is evidence that in 2008 many of these loyalists had voted for the opposition.

MIC Delegates tick off Dr Mahathir

MIC Delegates tick off Dr Mahathir

KUALA LUMPUR: Delegates to MIC’s general assembly took to task former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his criticism of MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu in the run up to the party polls.

One delegate said that the MIC leaders were capable of handling party affairs by themselves and did not need outsiders to interfere.

“Please mind your own business. We know what we are doing. MIC is a big banyan tree and he (Samy Vellu) is the protector,” he said.

He said if there was no MIC, then the Indians would be orphans without an effective representation for them in the country.

Another delegate said the party election had strengthened the hands of Samy Vellu and was a strong rebuke for Dr. Mahathir.

N. Muniandy of Ampang also took a dig at Dr Mahathir who had said that MIC had not done anything for the Indians.

“Whenever he came to the MIC general assembly, we heaped lots of praises but he did not speak of anything for the community.

“We gave him our resolutions but what did he do with them? He has done nothing for the community,” he said.

However, Samy Vellu interjected when Muniandy called on the delegates to move a resolution to condemn Dr Mahathir for his actions, saying that Dr. Mahathir had done a lot for the country.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dr M tells Muslims to be grateful

LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Muslims must be grateful for the peace and harmony in Malaysia.

This has allowed Muslims to fulfil their religious responsibilities, such as fasting and celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri, without any sanction.

Muslims here are more fortunate than their "brothers and sisters" in other Islamic countries who live in fear of threats to their safety, Dr Mahathir said.

"Malaysia is a peaceful and stable country.

"Our economy has shown improvement and there is unity among the people.

"So, as Muslims, we should be grateful for all the blessings from Allah," he said at a breaking of fast ceremony on Friday.

Dr Mahathir also handed over the keys for the Al-Ehsan Mosque in Kampung Temoyong from the developer, Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd, to the villagers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dr M blames ignorance for Indon-Malaysia spat

Dr M blames ignorance for spat
The New Straits Times

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday expressed his sadness over the recent spats between Indonesia and Malaysia.

He said the call to war against Malaysia was made by those who had no understanding of the relationship between the two countries.

He said allegations about stealing songs and culture which had been blown out of proportion by a small group.

The Indonesian government must act to check the matter, he said before breaking fast with Perkim club members from various institutions of higher learning yesterday.

Asked how Malaysia should respond, the former prime minister said the Malaysian government could get in touch with counterparts in Indonesia seeking their cooperation.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dr M slams Anwar's street politics

Since his foray into the world of politics, Anwar Ibrahim has frequently 'used' people to further his personal cause through street demonstrations, said former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

by Chan Kong Art - 6 hours ago

Umno history has no demonstration.???.Tun go back to your history books. Tun memang mudah lupa. As one commenter rightly put cannot even get your kubang Pasu division to send you as a delegate to the UMNo assembly, it speaks loudly as to your relevance in UMNO. Just retire gracefully and don't embarass UMNO further.
by Antares - 20 hours ago

The day Anwar Ibrahim becomes Malaysia's 7th prime minister, Mahathir and Najib will have to flee the country or end their days behind bars. The list of serious crimes they have committed in office is almost endless. Anwar is the most feared man in Malaysia to those who have abused their power and perverted the rule of law into rule by law. Gani Patail and Musa Hassan, in particular, have the most to fear from a democratic Malaysia under Pakatan rule. Both were promoted to their present positions by Mahathir for willingly doing his dirty work for him in 1998 when Anwar became a threat to the political status quo. Eleven years later, the same ugly scenario is being repeated with Najib at the helm. All of Mahathir's devious schemes serve only himself, his family, and a small handful of business cronies. He doesn't give two hoots about Umno, the Malays, or Malaysia. give two hoots about, law
by Azmil Tayeb - 23 hours ago

Now that TDM is old and retired he should enjoy his retirement without interfering. Heis just adding salt to the wound and putting more fuel to the fire. During the consttutional crisis he was trying to start a demonstartion to remove the Sultans power. He was the one putting most opposition Leaders to ISA without legitimate reasons. I thought he lost his memory but that is not true today. When he was at the dock in the Ligam Tape hearing, his answers were I dont remember, I cannot recall etc. Liar he is. At this stage he has lost all his respect and credibility. The greatness of a person is unknown until he is dead. Teoh Beng Hock funeral was massive and multiracial too. Cory funeral was great with numbers. TDM yet to be seen.
by subramaniam muthusamy - Yesterday

Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is the favourite leader at the moment. I think the raakyat is eagerly hoping that DSAI will lead the next federal government. He deserves to become the leader as he has gone through enough trials and tribulations to be admired by the raakyat. Ghandi
by yusoff - Yesterday

Tun, please mind your own biz... you are retired old folk. I'm as a true Malaysian can tell you that the nation is developed by your administrative and the same time our nation into dark also bcoz of you. you are the one fully responsible for our countrie's disharmony and undemocratic. We all in this country living as a brotherhood and please you don't destroy again. you no need to do a single good for us but don't ever try to do nasty. Plz.... Tun. Now time for u to seek peace and not dosa..... I'm very very sorry if i hurted Tun, and thats not my intention eventhough i'm not write person who can advice Tun.
by Loyal Malaysian - Yesterday

The Najib administration is just following in the footsteps of this ex dictator. Why is the government so intolerant of the rakyat voicing their opposition to the ISA? Is it because the ISA is no longer defendable as necessary? The communist insurgency for which the policy was formulated ended decades ago!
by Kanesin a/l SVS Sappania Pillay - Yesterday

Peaceful demos have been part and parcel of any Democratic country. Mahathir is right in that we are not a democratic country and hence peaceful protests are anethma. To acheive owns goal in a autocratic rule people has mass protested, like Ayotullah Khomeni in Iran, Palestinians in west Bank, Indians under Mahatma Gandhi, Africans under Mandela, Americans under Martin Luther King. All this people should be comdemned along with Anwar Ibrahim for opening the eyes and ears of their people. S.Ganesan
by Kevyn Cheah Kok Chuan - Yesterday

Democratic demonstration is a right way to do by Anwar rather than having your opposition in jail just because you have the authority. If you are great, the nation will not be in the spotlight when hundreds were detained in ISA. .
by Lonestar - Yesterday

Aiyoyo. Can the Tun please swear that he has never participated in any street demo before! If he cannot, then why others cannot participate in this democratic process? What is good for the goose is equally good for the gander!
by Krishnamoorthy a/l Rajannaidu - Yesterday

dr.krishna,sungai petani. mahathir should be blamed for this type of street demonstration,because during his tenature as a pm of this country people of this country opt for demostration.because the govt doors closed for any type of discussion,opinion,negotation of public.The govt so adamant because they rule the country for long52 years.what ever they dictate people must follow.mind it mahathir most of the rakyat frustrated and loss belive in BN govt thats why they wants to opt for alternative way to tell the govt that you must change your mid set.if street demonstration must be zero in malaysia govt must listen to people voice.personally no body like demonstration so mahatir hve to advise the govt rather than comment on demonstration and somebody.we are not fools any more.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Mahathir ticking of Petronas - may have backfired on himself

Kit Siang demands Petronas opens its books
By Shannon Teoh

PETALING JAYA, July 4 — Lim Kit Siang urged the Barisan Nasional (BN) government today to open its books on Petronas and give a full accounting of how payments from the national oil company had been spent since its inception.

While the veteran DAP man backed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today in questioning how the government spent RM253.6 billion in payment from Petronas, he said the public were also entitled to know how the former PM’s administration had utilised the RM169 billion it received from Petronas.

“Mahathir is right. Malaysians have a right to know how the RM253.6 billion paid by Petronas to the federal treasury in the past six years had been spent.

“But Malaysians have a right to go one step further, to demand how half-a-trillion ringgit contributed by Petronas to the government in the past 33 years – RM4.2 billion under Tun Hussein Onn, RM168.8 billion under Tun Mahathir and RM253.6 billion under Tun Abdullah Badawi – has been spent and to demand a full accounting,” the DAP parliamentary leader said today.

Dr Mahathir, a trenchant critic of his successor Abdullah, wrote in his blog yesterday that “it would be interesting to know what the RM253.6 billion was spent on” since he left office in 2003.

Some of the former PM’s backers have pointed out that there is no physical evidence of just what Tun Abdullah’s government spent Petronas money on, while Dr Mahathir could point to major infrastructure projects from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Putrajaya.

But Lim, in calling a for a public inquiry and full accounting of the RM427 billion contributed by Petronas since its inception, responded today that the Petronas adviser’s point that “prudence was the last consideration in the expenditure of the RM253.6 billion Petronas petro-ringgit” should also be levelled at the influential statesman.

“Mahathir had set many bad precedents of abuse and misuse of the Petronas ringgit in his 22 years as prime minister,” Lim said in a press statement today.

The Ipoh Timur MP said that “Mahathir had not bat an eyelid” to misuse funds from Petronas, set up in 1976 as the national oil company, to “bail out dubious projects”.

“The most infamous being the RM2 billion bailout of his son Mirzan Mahathir’s shipping concern Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd (KPB) in 1998 when KPB was floundering in billion-ringgit debts with its share price falling to RM3.78 by February 1998, a fraction of its pre-financial crisis level of over RM17,” the DAP stalwart said.

He claimed that there were other occasions under Dr Mahathir when “Petronas was used as a national piggy bank” such as the RM2.5 billion and RM1 billion bail-outs of Bank Bumiputra in 1986 and 1989, aiding MAS and Proton in their financial struggles as well as to fund mega-projects such as the Petronas Twin Towers and the shifting of the federal administration to Putrajaya

Lim also demanded a full accounting of the RM15.2 billion royalty owed to the Terengganu government from 2000 to 2009, which he claims were “hijacked by the federal government when the Terengganu state government fell to PAS.”

The doubts over government management of Petronas funds come after the nation’s only Fortune 500 company announced on June 25 that it had paid RM30 billion in dividends to the federal government for the financial year ended March 31, 2009.

A special dividend of RM6 billion was declared last year and this amount is exactly the increase against the previous financial year’s dividends. This is despite a 14 per cent decline in net profit to RM52.5 billion due to lower crude oil prices and higher operating costs.

Apart from the dividends, Petronas also paid RM29.4 billion taxes, RM6.2 billion royalties and RM2.2 billion export duties for the last financial year, totalling RM67.8 billion to the federal government against RM56.8 billion in the previous year.

But the government has in the past stated that money from Petronas goes into the treasury’s consolidated fund and cannot be linked directly to any particular expenditure. There is mounting concern over the management of Petronas as it contributes to 45% of the country’s economy.