Former Malaysian PM Najib tells Mahathir to stop using the Malay card

Najib said, when he was no longer in power, Dr Mahathir had labelled the Malays as lazy, ungrateful, politically naive, and spendthrift people.

Eileen Ng

Eileen Ng

The Straits Times


Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak (left) told his predecessor Mahathir Mohamad to stop leveraging on the Malay card to further his political agenda. PHOTO: REUTERS, ST FILE

March 23, 2023

SINGAPORE – Jailed former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has once again hit out at Tun Mahathir Mohamad, telling his nemesis to stop using the Malay card to further his political agenda.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Najib said that when Dr Mahathir was in power, he had labelled the Malays as lazy, ungrateful, politically naive and spendthrift people who should not be envious of the wealth of others.

When he was no longer in power, Najib said, Dr Mahathir claimed the Malays were marginalised and oppressed.

“Enough is enough. Stop riding on the Malay name,” Najib said in the post which has received 17,000 likes, more than 550 shares and some 1,300 comments.

He also said Dr Mahathir has a penchant for blaming others for controversial incidents that happened during his tenure, citing a 1987 crackdown in which more than 100 people were arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA), and the removal of Tun Salleh Abas as Lord President of the Federal Court in 1988.

“Everything is not his fault. Apparently he was just a wooden pole during the 22 years he was the fourth prime minister,” added Najib.

Dr Mahathir served as premier twice – from 1981 to 2003, and from 2018 to 2020 – and resigned both times. He lost his parliamentary seat of Langkawi in the 2022 General Election.

Dr Mahathir said on Wednesday that it was the police who initiated the ISA crackdown, called Operation Lalang.

“I did not order it. A prime minister has to listen to the police. They are responsible for the security of the nation. Their opinions and advice cannot be simply brushed aside,” he said in a Facebook post.

His statement was accompanied by snippets of a video from 2011 in which former police chief Hanif Omar admitted that it was his decision to go ahead with the crackdown.

This is the second time in three days Najib has trained his guns on the 97-year-old Dr Mahathir.

On Monday, Najib called Dr Mahathir a dictator who has no right labelling others as such.

That came after Dr Mahathir on Sunday accused Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of being a dictator after a pro-Malay gathering was called off.

Najib is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted by a Malaysian court of corruption linked to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). He has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail said the Prisons Department has allowed Najib to undergo medical treatment at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur.

However, he did not say what sort of illness Najib is suffering from or the type of treatment the former prime minister is undergoing.

scroll to top