TAIPING, 6 April 2009: Only last month did Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad say that Barisan Nasional (BN)’s takeover of Perak was unlawful.
Today, however, he endorsed the BN’s menteri besar and said the new government had been accepted by the people.
The former prime minister hit the campaign trail today for the BN in Bukit Gantang, two days after he rejoined Umno. He told a crowd of at least 3,000 people that he fully supported Datuk Seri Najib Razak as the new prime minister, and Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak menteri besar.
Dr Mahathir is mobbed by the excited crowd as he arrives. Pushing and shoving ensues as bodyguards clear a path for him
At a press conference later, Mahathir was asked about the change in his stand.
“It (the BN state government) is now a matter of fact, so it must be supported unless they can prove that it is legally wrong. But at the moment, it seems the government is accepted by the people,” Mahathir told reporters.
However, at a function on 14 March, he had said the BN’s 5 Feb takeover of Perak was not in accordance with the law. He had argued then that a menteri besar or a prime minister could not be removed without a no-confidence vote in the assembly.
Asked why he held a different view today, Mahathir said, “I am not a judge, but I can give an opinion. Maybe I am wrong. It all depends on the judge.”
The Bukit Gantang by-election is seen by many as a referendum on whether Perakians support the BN’s takeover of the state government.
Earlier, Mahathir was given a grand welcome at an open air government function in Simpang. He walked in to the beat of kompang and Chinese drums, causing a minor stampede as people surged forward to shake his hand.
There were screams of “Hidup Tun! Hidup Mahathir!” when he was called up to the podium to deliver his speech.
He spoke for 40 minutes, and despite the blazing sun, people pressed themselves up to the stage to get a closer look.
Nothing Mahathir said was new, but he cracked lighthearted jokes as he talked about his return to Umno since quitting on 19 May 2008 to protest the leadership of then president and Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He praised Najib for emulating his father, second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, in welcoming him (Mahathir) back into the Umno fold.
“When I criticised Tunku Abdul Rahman and was expelled from Umno, Tun Razak welcomed me back. This time, I was not expelled but I chose to leave. Last time, it was Razak who accepted my membership form, now it is his son.
“Now that I am back in Umno, I hope all those who left will also return. I am confident that Najib has the capability to fix problems in our country,” Mahathir said.
Delivering a 40-minute speech to a crowd of no less than 3,000 people
In remarks aimed at soliciting support from those who rejected the BN in the 2008 general election, Mahathir addressed BN component party members whom he acknowledged had felt disillusioned.
“There were many who are actually MCA, MIC and Gerakan supporters, but because they were disillusioned, they sent a strong message to the government by not voting the government.
“I am confident the government is now aware of these feelings. That is why we saw the transfer of national leadership,” he said.
Earlier, Zambry, in his speech, called Mahathir “tokoh perpaduan”.
Attacking the opposition
Without mentioning Pakatan Rakyat adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s name, Mahathir described him as an impatient man who could not wait to grab power.
“There was no one else whom I raised so high, until the sky. But he could not wait. He wanted me out quickly. You know who I am talking about,” Mahathir said. Segments of the crowd responded with of “Ceritakan, Tun” and “Bagi lagi, Tun!”
And taking a dig at PAS candidate Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who is also the embattled menteri besar of Perak, Mahathir said, “If he doesn’t want to agree [with the sultan], he can disagree, but not until he has to ask permission to commit treason.”
Supporters with a hand-scrawled poster to
welcome Dr MMahathir is scheduled to visit Bukit Selambau later tonight to continue campaigning for the BN.
Willing to help
Later, Mahathir told reporters that he was willing to advise the government in an unofficial capacity. He said he had no interest in a senior minister post in the cabinet.
He urged Najib to select a clean cabinet with ministers whom people could trust. But when asked how he would feel if Rembau Member of Parliament and Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin were to be given a cabinet post, Mahathir said it was not for him to decide.
Khairy beat Mahathir’s son Datuk Mukhriz in the recent Umno elections. Mahathir’s dislike for Khairy is well-known.
Asked about how he gauged the public’s reaction to Najib and the new Umno leadership, Mahathir said, “I think people want to see things as they used to enjoy before. Umno is now ready to hear the people. I am confident that Najib’s leadership reflects the original Umno.”
Didn’t expect much from him, same tune, same dance, same attire, same confusion as to what is fair; he is like a leopard, his spots will remain the same throughout his life.
This guy really can brag the whole day about his achievements.
When Dr “Apa nama tu” was on the outside, he condemned the recent Perak take-over as unlawful. But when he is a member again, he endorses the same take-over.
A classic example of a “flip-flop” leader. Also bends with the wind.
Mahathir is well-loved. There are people who are willing to forgive all of his trespasses because he is so much tied to what it means to be a Malaysian.
I confess that I am quite fond of him; he is the smartest politician in a sackful of sometimes really stupid people. But I hope that voters remember that they are not voting for him, they are voting for their local representatives, and that the votes do not signal an approval of Mahathir, but signal an approval of Najib Abdul Razak.
May the best man [or woman] win.
Lam Fang says
Tun M is known for his flip flop views and can provide reasons to justify his changing stand. Just wonder how an elder statesman can do this.
It is best that he stops his comments and go into full retirement.
rakyat biasa says
Tun Mahathir is only a human being like me. Please stop your wayang kulit.
I always believe humans will always use thousands of reasons to justify what they do.
In this case, Tun is just a human being like you or me. Nothing to praise. Some people think that he is the one who led Malaysia to what it is today. But there is always an IF. If he was not the one who ruled Malaysia for 20 years, Malaysia might have taken a long time to become a developed country. Chicken and egg story.
Ignore him, for goodness sake. Malaysia cannot depend on him forever. We need to move on.
Pak Loh says
So it is confirmed that Mahathir is indeed senile.
Fikri Roslan says
Tun Mahathir is our negarawan. He has contributed significantly to our nation.
I would not want to waste two minutes commenting on something that has passed the “sell-by” date! Expired! Ok! I have just wasted my two minutes writing this….
din haron says
Che Det, lets see how popular you are after these three elections.
Well, he thinks that he has the right to double standards and double speak. Mahathir, please leave us alone.
Mahathir, today you will say white is black and tomorrow you will turn around giving all kinds of reasons to say that no, black is white. You don’t deserve the “negarawan” title given by Umno.
You aren’t uniting the people but putting wedges between the various races, saying things like social contract and so on. Citizens of a country are citizens. What do you mean by social contract? Stop dividing the people so that Umno can keep on ruling. Islam does not differentiate between races.
So, rakyat out there, especially the two Bukits and one Batang, vote for justice and don’t be taken in by Mahathir. Prove him wrong today!
wy kam says
Once a BN/Umno politician, always a BN/Umno politician.
More flip flop then Pak Lah. Well, he has a bigger piece of the cake now.
I’m always supporting you, Tun Dr Mahathir.
‘Cause you’re hot (when scolding AAB) and you’re cold (when asked about Altantuya),
you’re yes (Perak’s coup is illegal) and you’re no (Oh, sorry, it is legal),
you’re in (to Umno) and you’re out (from Umno),
you’re up (thumb, to Mukhriz) and you’re down (thumb, to Khairy),
you’re wrong (democracy, ISA, etc) when it’s right,
you’re black (democracy, ISA, etc) and it’s white,
we fight we break up (Umno with AAB),
we kiss we make up (Umno with Najib).
You don’t really wanna stay, no (posting in cabinet)
you don’t really wanna go, oh (“informally” advising Najib)
Great you are, Tun M…
Oh, should we sing, say, “Take a bow” by Rihanna?
Oh, suddenly Mahathir can unite all races. Suddenly Mahathir is against the ISA. Suddenly Mahathir can ensure transparency in the government and judiciary.
Yeah right..suddenly my cat can speak English.