By Jonathan Yong
Former strongman Dr Mahathir Mohamed has dismissed the existence of ‘Mahathirism’, and warned veteran opposition leader Lim Kit Siang that repeated attacks on him would only backfire.
“There is no such thing as ‘Mahathirism’. I served the country, that’s all. As a citizen of Malaysia, I have the right to support my country and make sure it does well,” Mahathir told Malaysiakini yesterday.
He was responding to comments made by Lim who claimed Mahathir is secretly injecting his brand of divisive racial politics into the 13th general elections to ensure victory for the BN.
Lim has also accused Mahathir of sowing racial fears among the Malays by highlighting in a recent blog posting that Chinese voters are “kingmakers” in the upcoming election.
“I don’t know why he hates me so much,” decried the former premier.
Mahathir added that the DAP attacks would only bolster the BN, claiming that former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was rejected by voters for mistreating him.
“Last time when Abdullah wasn’t good to me, the people did not support BN. So some people still have some sympathy for me,” he contended.
‘I’ve no control over Najib’
Mahathir also refuted claims he has influence over Prime Minister Najib Razak, stressing that he has no intention of returning to power.
“If I am in control of Najib, then things will be quite different,” he said, denying that he is working behind the scene in the lead-up to the crucial general election..
When asked if BN would have lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament at the 2008 general election if he was in charge, Mahathir said he was not sure.
“I was in control for 22 years, so I have more experience. Maybe things would have been different.
“However, the fault lies with Abdullah. He destroyed all the institutions we built, destroyed our party and our component parties,” he seethed. He also blamed his chosen successor for eroding the confidence of government servants in BN.
Mahathir was speaking shortly after the grand opening of the ninth ‘The Loaf’ outlet at the brand new Paradigm Mall in Kelana Jaya.
‘The Loaf’ is a Japanese-style bakery and bistro of which Mahathir has a stake in since its launch in 2006, three years after he stepped down as premier.
“Running a business is quite different from being prime minister.
“As prime minister, I get paid every month and the government takes care of my travel expenses,” he quipped during his address at the opening of the latest outlet.
He also cut an early birthday cake, presented by business partner Jiro Suzuki. Mahathir’s 87th birthday is on July 10. – Mkini