Pot, kettle and Dr M’s ‘dictator’ accusation

A war of words has broken out between the two former Malaysian PMs.


Malaysia's former PM's Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Tun Razak. Photo: File/The Star/ANN

March 21, 2023

KUALA LUMPUR – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has hit out at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, calling him a dictator who has no right labelling others as such.

Najib said Dr Mahathir should not be calling others a dictator when he himself was oppressive during his two tenures as prime minister.

“Who was the one who enforced the Internal Security Act (ISA) and changed the country’s Attorney General, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief and Chief Justice for his own benefit?” he said in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Najib also alleged he faced injustice under Dr Mahathir’s administration, adding that a person could only be called a “dictator” when he had oppressed people.

“(It was Dr Mahathir) who prohibited my family from leaving the country before any charges were concluded, (it was he) who froze our family’s bank accounts,” he said on his Facebook page, now being handled by his social media administrator.

Former MP Kasthuri Patto echoed the sentiment, saying that Dr Mahathir had no moral authority to label Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim a dictator.

Kasthuri, the daughter of the late P. Patto, recalled how her father was among the more than 100 people detained under the now-defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) in the infamous Operasi Lalang in 1987 during Dr Mahathir’s first tenure as prime minister.

“You detained them for months, years and decades using the draconian ISA, while never allowing them to be tried in court. It was an iron-fisted rule.

“Please don’t be a wedge between patriotic Malaysians in nation-building as we need progressive and visionary leaders,” she said in a statement.

On Sunday, Dr Mahathir denounced Anwar as an “oppressive leader” after his attempt to hold a pro-Malay gathering in the city failed to materialise.

The former prime minister said the cancellation of venues for the planned gathering on Sunday was uncalled for as the organisers only wanted to get together and sign a proclamation on the situation of Malays in the country.

The gathering was forced to be cancelled after three venues cancelled bookings.

On March 17, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim issued a stern warning against parties he said were using race and religion to promote strife.

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