By LEE SHI-IAN
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is determined to realise his dream of becoming a government leader but his only realistic target is to be Selangor menteri besar, his nemesis Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
The de facto Parti Keadilan Rakyat leader’s aim is to take over Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir told Bernama Radio24 in a special interview.
“He wants to show off his ability and prowess, and at the same, it will be a boost to his ambition to become Malaysia’s prime minister,” he said.
The former prime minister, however, added that it was pertinent to note what would happen if Anwar ever realised his dream of becoming the nation’s prime minister.
Kajang state assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh tendered his resignation on Monday to Selangor speaker Hannah Yeoh, and a by-election is expected to be called soon.
Yesterday, Anwar announced that he would be contesting the Kajang state seat, a move which many speculated would eventually lead to the Selangor menteri besar’s position.
“During my tenure as prime minister, the opposition’s only objective was to go against the government. They claimed that the Internal Security Act 1960 was draconian and barbaric,” Dr Mahathir said.
He was responding to claims by Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli that ultras led by Dr Mahathir’s faction had begun the process to remove Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“So did the criticisms from the opposition stop when the Internal Security Act was repealed? No, they then focused their criticisms on a different issue,” Dr Mahathir said.
He claimed that the opposition would not cease their attacks on Putrajaya until Barisan Nasional had been driven out of the country’s administrative capital.
“Even if you gave the opposition money, they will not cease their attacks or criticisms. They will continue no matter what you give them,” Dr Mahathir said.
On claims that pro-Umno bloggers were targeting Najib and Putrajaya, Dr Mahathir said those who sit too long in one department will end up being hated, despite their achievements.
“During my time as prime minister, even I stepped down and gave the younger leaders an opportunity to shine,” Dr Mahathir said.
“In 2004, Barisan Nasional won an unprecedented 199 of 222 seats as the rakyat celebrated a new leader at the helm.”
However, Dr Mahathir said, when the public saw that the new government and leaders were not as capable as their predecessors, their support shifted.
“That is why Barisan Nasional performed so dismally in 2008, because the rakyat were disappointed with the government,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said it was normal to get a lot of criticism on the Internet, even from the pro-Umno bloggers.
“I have my own blog too, because I want to speak my mind and give my opinions on current issues in Malaysia,” he said.
The Malaysian Insider reported today that Najib’s leadership has come under criticism from various Umno members including Dr Mahathir, Tun Daim Zainuddin and other party veterans.
Many of the attacks against Najib have originated in cyberspace, similar to the campaign which finally unseated Dr Mahathir’s successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in 2009. – Malaysian Insider