FORMER Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has a reputation of being a feisty statesman. Today got the rare chance to meet him at his office in Putrajaya — the city that he personally designed — yesterday. He was all smiles and subtlety as he talked about the general election and his nation's political future, but his views are razor-sharp as ever, as Nazry Bahrawi (email@example.com) found out.
on THE RULING COALITION
The Barisan Nasional has just released its report card. What are your opinions on its achievements since 2004, when Mr Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's first term as Prime Minister began?
DR M: There are of course a lot of negative things that are not in the report card. For example, lots of money is being lost, the prestige of the nation has gone down and the fact is a lot of people cannot find work or business in the country. They have to go elsewhere.
Which achievements would you take issue with?
Islam Hadhari has caused a lot of confusion. There is only one Islam and now they are told that they are followers of Islam Hadhari or modern Islam as if it is a new religion. With regards to the new development corridors, they are just announcements. Nothing has happened on the ground. The amount of money involved is fantastic. It goes into trillions of ringgit and it will happen over a period of maybe 10 to 20 years. So, these are promises. Anybody can make a promise.
What do you think of the Barisan Nasional (BN) election strategy?
I think it is a good strategy and they will gain a lot of support from the people.
MORE on SUCCESSION IN UMNO, on THE OPPOSITION, and of course on HIS SON Mukhriz as reported by TODAYONLINE HERE, AND MALAYSIA-TODAY HERE
ELECTION 2008: No common goals, so how can they rule, asks Najib - PENDANG: Only the Barisan Nasional can ensure racial harmony and a shared future for all ethnic groups, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said yesterday. He told the Siamese community in Kedah the BN was the only coalition practising power-sharing and promoting consensus among the races. He said while the opposition claimed it would fight for the rights of all races, it could not even agree on the same goals and a single manifesto. "The opposition can only make pacts to oppose the BN during elections, but they cannot copy us. They don't have the same direction and cannot agree on policy and ideology. "Pas wants a theocratic Islamic state, DAP wants a secular state, while PKR changes according to the situation. So how can they share power? "They even have different manifestos. Whereas the BN has one manifesto that includes the Siamese community." Najib was speaking at a meet-the-people session at the Titi Akar Siamese temple in Sungai Tiang here. Sungai Tiang is a BN state seat in the Pendang parliamentary constituency, which is held by Pas.
ELECTION 2008: This is not the time for experiments, says PM - KEPALA BATAS: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi yesterday said the people should not wager the country's future by trying out the opposition. He said forming the government was a serious business and the people could not afford to "conduct experiments". "It is going to be disastrous if the experiment fails. The risks are just too high. "I hope such calls for the people to experiment with the opposition will not get any support." Abdullah was asked to comment on calls by opposition party leaders for the people to give them a chance, even if it was just for one term, by voting against the Barisan Nasional.
Musim pilihan raya: Mahathir kena main… Akhirnya kenyataan berbentuk sindiran bekas Perdana Menteri, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad diambil serius oleh pembangkang apabila pembangkang dikatakan menyebar luas rakaman ucapan Dr. Mahathir yang kononnya mengaku menzalimi bekas timbalannya Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Dalam rakaman yang disebarkan itu Dr. Mahathir bukan sahaja mengaku menangkap Anwar tetapi dengan memek muka yang penuh dengan sindiran Dr. Mahathir berkata “saya tangkap saya taruk masuk dalam tahanan”.