When Mahathir lashes out at Anwar, will it catch fire? Bernama pic:Tun Dr Mahathir at the Perkim annual general meeting on Saturday
KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 – The fight to drag Anwar Ibrahim into a political mud-fight began yesterday when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad went back to his playbook of 1998 and accused the de facto opposition leader of being a stooge for foreign powers.
Unlike 10 years ago, Anwar is not likely to be perturbed by this attack. He will not take the bait and will dismiss his one-time mentor as someone whose relevance to Malaysia has passed.
Anwar knows that he does not need to get into a street fight, as he is viewed by many Malaysians as the man who is ushering in a new dawn for the country while Dr Mahathir is seen as part of the old landscape.
Also, Anwar does not need to score points with Umno or convince them of his fitness to lead. If anything, it is Dr Mahathir who has to audition for their support as he sets about to force a change of leadership in Umno.
It was vintage Mahathir yesterday. He described Anwar as "a man of many parts", someone with a forked tongue.
"When he talks about Islam, Muslims will think he's a champion of Islam. When he is with the Jews, the Jews love him. When he is with the Muslims, the Muslims love him. When he is with the temple groups, they love him too.
“Everybody loves him. He is a convincing orator… If the Malays are willing to kowtow to the foreigners, then they can choose this person,” he said during a question-and-answer session after he opened the annual general meeting of Persatuan Melayu Tanjong (Penang Malays Association) here yesterday.
When someone in the audience wondered whether Anwar stood a chance to be the next prime minister, Dr Mahathir suggested that he would make a “good prime minister of Israel”. This was not a shot in the dark as the former PM knows that Muslims here have great animosity with Israel over that country’s handling of the Palestinian issue.
When the former prime minister sacked Anwar Ibrahim from the party and government 10 years ago, he repeatedly accused his one-time protégé of being a lackey of the West, especially the United States. But the difference between then and now is as stark as night and day.
This was evident at a recent seminar on the elections at Universiti Utara Malaysia. Among the panelists were Penang deputy chief minister Dr P. Ramasamy, PAS politician Mujahid Rawa and deputy minister Saifuddin Abdullah.
Saifuddin had a tough time getting his points across as he was booed consistently by the young audience.
Dr Mansor Mohd Noor, a political analyst who was in the hall, said: “There has been a change in the political environment in West Malaysia. Malaysians want to know about the vision of this country. Any attempt at character assassination or personal attacks will not go down well with the public. The focus is on integrity, good governance, just policies. If you cannot articulate all this, then your relevance is limited.’’
He noted that voters, including Malays, were upset that the Barisan Nasional attacked Anwar a few days before the polls as an untrustworthy politician.
“Many people believe that he was the wronged party in 1998 and had 6 years taken away from him. Calling him a foreign agent will be like selling an old newspaper. And not a credible one,” Dr Mansor.
Still, he believes that Tun Mahathir is attempting to show the Umno rank and file that only he has the fire in the belly to take on Anwar. His pitch – though old and out-of-date with many Malays – could find support within a party searching for a leader to stop the seemingly unstoppable march of the Anwar-led opposition. – The Malaysian Insider
Malays Will Be Made Tools By West If Anwar Becomes PM, Says Mahathir
PENANG, March 30 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the Malays will be made use of by foreign powers if they choose Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister.
Describing Anwar as a "a man of many parts", he said Anwar had a glib tongue and hence could draw the attention of people from different groups and backgrounds.
"When he talks about Islam, Muslims will think he's a champion of Islam. He's also good at talking to the kampung (village) folk and also to those at temples.
"We know the west believes that Anwar will become prime minister in the near future. They can then lead him by the nose," said Dr Mahathir during a question-and-answer session after he opened the annual general meeting of Persatuan Melayu Tanjong (Penang Malays Association) here Sunday.
Someone in the audience had asked him about western media reports that Anwar would soon become Malaysia's prime minister.
"If the Malays are willing to kowtow to the foreigners, then they can choose this person (Anwar). I am sorry... he had maligned me all over the world, accusing me of arresting him and throwing him in jail," Dr Mahathir said. -- MORE