“You cannot topple a menteri besar or a prime minister without a no-confidence vote in the assembly. There is no other provision.”
FORMER Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, speaking out against the takeover of the Perak government by the Barisan Nasional (BN). Calling the coalition “too careless”, Mahathir said the BN should have done things properly and not “be in conflict with the law.” (Source: Dr M says Perak grab unlawful, The Malaysian Insider, 14 March 2009)
“Because this may be in conflict with the law, we find that people will not comply. Because we started on the wrong foot, people are now against us,” Mahathir was quoted as saying.
These comments were made before Mahathir rejoined Umno on 4 April 2009. He had resigned on 19 May 2008, citing a loss of confidence in the party under Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership.
“It (the BN state government) is now a matter of fact, so it must be supported unless they can prove that is legally wrong.”
Mahathir again, two days after rejoining Umno. He was speaking to a crowd of 3,000 in Bukit Gantang, where he said that he fully supported Najib as the new prime minister and Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir as Perak menteri besar. Mahathir observed that “at the moment, it seems the [BN] government is accepted by the people.” (Source: Dr M endorses Perak takeover, The Nut Graph, 6 April 2009)
The Bukit Gantang by-election is considered a referendum on whether the Perak citizenry has accepted the BN’s takeover of their government. Mahathir is still a popular figure among a majority of Malaysians. When asked about his obvious flip in opinion, Mahathir answered, “I am not a judge, but I can give an opinion. Maybe I am wrong. It all depends on the judge.”