KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 – Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad ended his first official trip to the west answering questions from Malaysian journalists, touching on some of the talking points in the country today.
Firstly, he clarified that there was nothing wrong with the Port Dickson by-election move that is expected to see his one-time foe turned party ally Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim return to the Dewan Rakyat as an MP.
“Legislation allows an elected representatives to step down and give way to others. So there was nothing illegal about it,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
He seemed to be taking a veiled jibe however, by adding “Though some people have found it unethical.”
The Port Dickson seat was vacated by PKR’s incumbent Danyal Balagopal Abdullah, 68, on September 12 to pave the way for Anwar, who was recently returned unopposed as the PKR president, to contest and become an MP.
The by-election will see seven candidates standing with Anwar facing PAS’ Lt Col (Rtd) Mohd Nazari Mokhtar, former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad, who is contesting as an independent after quitting Umno, as well as four other independent candidates – Stevie Chan, Anwar’s former aide Saiful Bukhari, Lau Seck Yan and Kan Chee Yuen.
MACC, police prioritising cases
Mahathir then spoke of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the police having their hands full with the number of cases that have emerged related to the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
“The MACC and police are handling too many cases and so have to set priorities.
“These include the cases of alleged misappropriation of government funds linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“These enforcement agencies act through the AG (Attorney-General). Once they have submitted the information to the AG, the AG acts on it (to prosecute),” he said, adding that the MACC and the police need not report to him.
He added that the cases were taking longer than people were willing to accept, because it had to be done by the book.
“If we go to court based just on what we have heard, we may lose the case. We have to ensure that all the relevant documentation is ready to be submitted to the court so that the court can make a proper consideration,” he said, according to the national news agency.
Tun Abdul Razak cared for people, unlike Najib
Mahathir did not mince his words though in attacking Najib over the whole 1MDB saga and how different the former prime minister was to his father, the nation’s second PM.
“Najib is nothing like his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who was most concerned about the plight of the villagers and had brought about massive rural development.
“Instead, Najib adopted the ‘cash is king’ attitude. When we say ‘cash is king’ it means that we can do anything at all with money.
“When we don’t have money, then we resort to stealing it,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Dr M: I inherited a proper government machinery in 1981
Mahathir said he was also disappointed over the damage done to the government machinery in Najib’s administration where government officers also campaigned during elections.
According to Bernama, Mahathir said when he became prime minister for the first time, in 1981, there was no problem with the government machinery.
“No problem, except having to make decisions on this matter and that. The government machinery functioned well,” he was quoted as saying.