Observers of Dr. Mahathir Mohamed’s political career cannot be faulted for wondering why the criticisms being levelled at Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak seem so very familiar.
They are familiar because Dr. Mahathir it seems, is very much into recycling. His criticisms of Prime Minister Najib echo what he said way back in 2006-2007 about Abdullah Badawi. They are also familiar because what Dr. Mahathir posted on his blog yesterday is exactly what others used to say about the good doctor himself.
“Even the lawyers of the accused are being intimidated and investigated by the powers that be. They want to frighten even lawyers,” said Dr Mahathir.
Well Sir, it looks like they learned from the best. This is what Anwar Ibrahim’s lawyers were subjected to. One of them, Zainur Zakaria, was even convicted and sentenced, although he later won his appeal.
Dr. Mahathir laments that “the nation’s image has changed from being a democracy to a police state” and that anyone going against Najib is likely to be accused of “engaging in activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy” and of involvement in “ plots to overthrow a democratically-elected government.”
It’s strange that Dr. Mahathir doesn’t recognize the similarities between the current events and ‘Reformasi 10’ in 2001. At that time, the Internal Security Act was used to detain individuals alleged to be trying to bring down a democratically-elected government through illegal means. Their ‘crime’ was that they dared to criticise and oppose Dr Mahathir. In fact, there were two waves of ISA-related detentions ─ the first in 1998 and then another in 2001.
Then there is Dr. Mahathir’s accusation that there is no longer a free press in Malaysia and that newspapers are being shut down simply for reporting facts. It looks like Dr. Mahathir’s memory needs some jogging because this is exactly what happened during Operasi Lalang when more than 100 government critics were detained and newspapers lost their publishing licences.
Dr Mahathir even went as far as to dissolve Umno and set up a new party so that his opposers would no longer pose a challenge to him.
What an irony! Everything Dr Mahathir called out in his criticism of the current Prime Minister could also be said of him during his 22 years in power.
And to round it all up, was it not Dr Mahathir who came out with the no contest for number one and number two ruling and the bonus votes for each nomination plus the 18 months postponement ruling to ensure that no one could challenge the Umno party president?
You know what they say ….. “what goes around, comes around”.