MUNYONYO (Uganda), 27 July 2009: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today described PAS’s willingness to work with the federal government as insincere and politically motivated.
He said this was because PAS leaders were only out to strengthen PAS and not the Barisan Nasional (BN).
“I know because I’ve experienced it in the Felda schemes. We put in Umno people and after a PAS leader (the late Tan Sri Asri Muda) became the minister responsible for Felda affairs, all the Felda settlers opposed us.
“This was because they campaigned for PAS and not the government,” he told Malaysian journalists after attending the first day of the Smart Partnership Dialogue here.
Mahathir was asked to comment on Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat‘s statement that he wanted to make up and forget the political dispute between the PAS state government and the federal government in the interest of the people and Muslim unity.
Nik Aziz had expressed hope that the differences in opinion between the leaders, especially PAS and Umno leaders, raised in the Manik Urai state by-election, would be forgotten and both sides would return to the spirit of Islamic unity.
Dr Mahathir said Umno should be careful about accepting the offer to cooperate to avoid falling into PAS’s trap.
“Firstly, who does PAS want to cooperate with? If it wants to cooperate with the BN…join the BN. If it wants to cooperate with Umno…it’s a racist party, so I’m worried about its intention,” he said.
On the move by several BN component leaders to join Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), the latest being former MIC vice-president Datuk SS Subramaniam, Dr Mahathir said it would only deter BN members from joining the opposition.
“Not many people from Umno join PKR. I once resigned from Umno but I did not join other parties.
“But we see that many BN component leaders who have been well-treated are still dissatisfied with what they’ve got,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said the best solution to the problem was to have a good government that had the people’s support.
On assumptions by some parties that he was a racist leader because he was seen as fighting for the lot of a certain community as posted in his blog, he said he had long been labelled as a racist leader.
“Before I became prime minister, some viewed me as a Malay ultra. But when I became prime minister I found that the other communities did not complain.
“When I was prime minister they received their rights. Whatever views I post in the blog are facts. If there are facts that I gave that are incorrect, prove it…whatever I said were facts,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said it was a fact that there was a racial imbalance in terms of wealth in the country.
“If necessary, this can be audited. For example, under the New Economic Policy we have succeeded in producing more doctors among Malay [Malaysians] to create balance…what’s wrong with that? If they say I’m racist…they can actually be called racist too,” he added. — Bernama