PUTRAJAYA, 3 June 2009: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government should stand by its decision not to allow Chin Peng to return to the country.
He said the government must understand the feelings of the people who would not be happy if the Malayan Communist Party leader was allowed to return.
“Obviously a lot of people are not happy, so why make other people unhappy? If they are not happy, leave it there,” he told reporters after attending the “Nurturing the Minds of Future Leaders” Essay Contest 2008 prize giving ceremony at the Perdana Leadership Foundation, here today.
He was commenting on the call to allow Chin Peng to return to Malaysia. The call came from Penang Gerakan chairperson Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan, saying that Chin Peng should be allowed to return on humanitarian grounds as he was no longer a security threat, and was supported by several opposition leaders.
Asked whether other parties should not press the government to change the decision, Mahathir said the freedom of speech allowed people to say what they liked but it was up to the government to decide.
On his opinion on the 45% approval rating for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, he said it was good.
A recent survey by the Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research showed that 45% of voters from peninsular Malaysia were satisfied with Najib’s performance. It also showed 53% of Malay Malaysians, 64% of Indian Malaysians and 24% of Chinese Malaysians polled said they were satisfied with Najib’s performance.
Asked about the formation of the National Economic Advisory Council, which was announced by Najib on 27 May, Mahathir said “it’s wonderful”. He also believed the council would be able to achieve its objective of turning the country’s economic status from medium income earner to high income earner.
Earlier, his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, who is also the Multimedia University chancellor presented prizes to the winners.