PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has taken responsibility for the shaping of DAP’s “evil” image in the eyes of the Malays.
He said after the country gained independence, the Malays were afraid of being left behind by the other races.
It was for this reason that the then government tried to empower them through education, jobs and business opportunities.
But the fear never went away and Mahathir admitted to have played on this, by demonising the DAP. This was then continued by Prime Minister Najib Razak, he said.
He said the Malay voters are afraid to vote for DAP because they think if DAP wins, Lim Kit Siang will become prime minister.
“So the Malays fear DAP. I myself had to some extent contributed to the poor reputation of DAP.
“I portrayed it as an evil party that wanted to control Malaysia and one that did not care about the fate of the Malays,” said the 91-year-old at a DAP-Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) talk in Alor Star on Saturday.
But Mahathir, who is now chairman of PPBM, a party that has formed an alliance with Pakatan Harapan, said what he did was just the normal political practice.
“If we want to win, we must demonise the opponent. They also did the same to me.”
He said they called him mahafiraun (great pharaoh), mahazalim (great despot) “and accused me of all sorts of things”.
“When we are contesting, we have to show that our opponents are bad, and we are the good ones. This happens everywhere.
“But we have found that the good can become bad. And this is what we are seeing,” he said in reference to Umno.
According to Mahathir, Umno used to be a good party that contributed to the country’s development.
Mahathir was Umno’s longest-serving president. He left the party last year claiming that it is no longer a party for the Malays but is now a party that serves the interests of the prime minister.
He then formed PPBM and is leading it with the help of Umno’s former deputy president Muhyiddin Yassin, his son Mukhriz and other former Umno members. FMT