Mahathir: I’m here for the people

August 30, 2015

COMMENT: I cannot understand why Malaysians who were at Bersih 4.0 last night and this afternoon are excited at the sight of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in their midst. I am glad that my wife Dr. Kamsiah and I missed him on both occasions. We both feel that the former autocrat is not interested in electoral reform, democracy, human rights and good governance. He has a different agenda, which is basically to protect his legacy and UMNO Baru which he created after UMNO was outlawed.

Bersih 4.0 in Jalan Tun Perak

Tun Dr. Mahathir has always been an astute politician of the Machiavellian mould with a Master Yoda touch. He said he came to Bersih 4.0 to support the people, not Bersih’s struggle which goes beyond the removal of Najib as Prime Minister.

I want to remind him that Bersih is  a people’s movement  for political change. Bersih 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 were all about people power against the corruption, electoral politics, and abuses of power of the UMNO-BN clique.

BERSIH'S demandsBoth Ambiga and Maria Chin and their associates have not changed Bersih’s mission.  Bersih 4.0 is  continuation of our fight for free and fair elections. Since Najib is a major obstacle to electoral reform, Bersih 4.0 is also about asking him to step down as Prime Minister on grounds of corruption and abuses of power and mismanagement of our economy. Tun Dr. Mahathir’s presence at Bersih 4.0 is not a good move since he has exploited rally to serve his self-interest.–Din Merican

Mahathir: I’m here for the people

by FMT Reporters

Najib’s arch-critic captures attention with sensational second appearance at KL protest rally

Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a sensational second appearance at the Bersih protest rally today, this time accompanied by former law minister Zaid Ibrahim, as he took advantage of the huge turnout to press his year-long campaign to force UMNO President and Prime Minister Najib Razak out of office.

Speaking to reporters at Central Market, the former Prime Minister remarked that it was his first time at a street rally and reiterated that he had come in support of the people, and not Bersih.

Dr M at Berish 4.0He said the people had no other choice but to take to the streets – a position in marked contrast to his position during his 22 years in power when he cracked down hard on opposition and demonstrations, and was responsible for Operation Lalang (1987) in which more than 100 were detained under the Internal Security Act.

Dr Mahathir said Najib had closed off all other avenues for the people to make their voices known and gave as examples the popular uprisings that led to the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines.

He had made similar remarks at a public forum in Johor yesterday at which he had said that this weekend’s rally, in which tens of thousands of people had peacefully occupied the streets of central Kuala Lumpur, was different from previous Bersih rallies.

“This Bersih is not the same as Ambiga’s Bersih,” he had said. “This one is about the people, about people power, where the people must take to the streets because they have no other choice, Najib has closed down all other avenues.”

His reference to Ambiga Sreenevasan was to the Berish rally of 2012 which was put down with tear gas and water cannons, when some rally-goers were reported to have attempted to take down barricades around Dataran Merdeka, and opposition politicians were accused of having hijacked the demonstrations.

A few hours after his Johor appearance, Dr Mahathir and his wife Dr. Siti Hasmah turned up outside Kuala Lumpur City Hall, and were mobbed by enthusiastic rally-goers. He said little last night, except to encourage them to carry on, “teruskan, teruskan”.

At today’s media conference, he once again made a careful distinction between Bersih itself, and the rally proper, to keep at arms-length any association with the political parties and politicians who have dominated at previous street rallies.

Dr M in and Out of Power“I’m here not because I support Bersih but because I support the people. We are not here because we hate UMNO or Barisan Nasional. We just don’t want a Prime Minister like him (Najib Razak),” Dr Mahathir said.

He reiterated his support for a confidence motion to be brought against Najib in Parliament, in order to remove him from office. “We cannot allow this man to abuse his position as Prime Minister. We should move a motion of no confidence in Parliament,” Dr Mahathir said.

Opposition politicians such as Lim Kit Siang as well as Zaid Ibrahim have campaigned for a new political alignment across the parliamentary aisle, for like-minded MPs to come together and form a new transitional government for political reforms in the two years before the next general election.

Zaid has also championed UMNO veteran Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as the People’s PM to replace Najib after a confidence motion. However, on Saturday, Tengku Razaleigh announced that he would not seek re-election after nine successive terms as MP for Gua Musang.

In the 1980s Tengku Razaleigh led a challenge to Dr Mahathir as UMNO President and came within 41 votes of ousting him. The power struggle led to UMNO’s deregistration, the formation of a new party with a similar name, and years of what many regarded as iron-fisted rule by Dr Mahathir.

The former premier made no mention of past events but accused Najib of having abused his power as Prime Minister and said: “We cannot allow this man to make use of his election as an MP to be the prime minister and abuse the power”. In order for Najib to be removed, “the people must show the people’s power”, he said.

He brought up questions regarding the controversial 1Malaysia Development Bhd as well as a reported US$700m million deposit in Najib’s private bank accounts, and accused Najib of having stayed in power by buying support.

“He has told me that cash is king. If you give money to people, they will support you,” Dr Mahathir said, and disparaged Najib’s explanation that the money in his account was a donation from the Middle East.

“No Arab would give that amount of money to anyone. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.

29 thoughts on “Mahathir: I’m here for the people

  1. Din, I am sure many agree with you about Dr. M. But in times of epic crisis of the country, every extra hand helps … even if it is the hand of the former thief. This thief in the house is becoming a tyrant and if we don’t kick him out, we won’t have a house to live in any more.
    Seriously Muthu, do we really need help, especially from a former tyrant to do what is right for our country? The thousands I saw at Dataran Merdeka and Jalan Tun Perak are capable and determined to save our country from a raging storm of frustrations and anger.–Din Merican

  2. Everyone & every political party seems to hijack Bersih 4. DAP, PKR & HARAPAN BARU are doing it and so does Mahathir – who else???

  3. He wants to save UMNO Baru and continue with his (sadly)
    twisted vision for Malaysia.

    Nevertheless, he continues to be a master political tactician.
    A bete noire and cause of insomnia and heartburn for some people 🙂

  4. In a speech tonight at FELDA Kota Tinggi PM Najib Razak referred to the BERSIH4 demonstrators with the collective noun “ekor”…. that is really disgusting!

  5. Bagi kita yang kenal Mahathir tidak akan impressed dgn kehadirannya ke Bersih 4.0. Apa yang Dato katakan akan niat sebenar Mahathir adalah tepat. Dia hanya mahu menumpang dan menggunakan Bersih 4.p sebagai l3verage untuk mencapai agendanya sahaja. Nuthin less nuthin more……

  6. I was glad that he came because I felt that the authorities would then be less inclined to use dirty tricks to with their goon squads to create mayhem. But on the other hand, I see how Mahathir is trying to use the rally for his own ends – get rid of Najib. That to me would be a subversion of Bersih’s intent. What the nation needs is to make the Umno political elite accountable, not just Najib. Mahathir and his henchmen are part of that gang.

  7. I do not know why many people, especially the young, get excited over Tun Mahathir whenever they see him in person. I have known this man since the late 1960s when he was a member of the UM Court and Council and I was the Secretary of these bodies, although not on a personal and social basis. I have always respected him and still respect him as our former PM, as a clever and intelligent man and as one of the early graduates of UM in Singapore (now NUS) about my time. I still see him once a year, if he attends, at the Annnual Dinner of one of the Clubs in KL and say “hello” to him. He is s1aid to be the man responsible for bringing UM to what it is to-day when he was the Minister of Education in the early 1970s and later when he was the DPM and PM. Some people remind us frrom time to time that he was also responsible for some of the “ills” of this country we see to-day. Notwithstanding this, we must still give him credit for his contrbutions to much of the country’s progress and development when he was PM, especially the country’s transport system and infrastructure. Without him, Malaysia will not be a developed as it is to-day and for that we must salute him as one of our past leaders. As an oldie of this country, I hope for the sake of our younger generations that some young and capable new leaders will emerge soon to lead this country.

  8. If at ninety, i were able to be like Octo taking a train and walking amongst thousands of ‘ekor’, i would praise the Lord for keeping me alive and still kicking ass.
    l do not doubt his motives remain that of self interest and for UMNOb survive, but would rather stare reality in the face – he is the lesser of evils. It is not about a dilemma, whether false or not – it is about a man’s capacity to guard his own legacy – no matter how wretched it is. Octo’s presence in Bersih 4 is tactical and part of the larger strategy. Never underestimate the goodwill that the average computer illiterate or working Joe has for him

    Bersih 2.0 efforts are but a ripple on Jibros placid pond of corruption, cowardice, evil and culture of negativity. A siege mentality that can only be broken by his mentor – for who is greater? The needle or the thread?

    I too have met Octo in person, although i never had the ‘pleasure’ serve under him nor gain/lose anything from/to him. And i’m no elitist, but see the world as it is – broken. In need of what needs to be said in simple terms. Strength of character is not based on his past deeds – but what is being done today. Do not wallow in things that are overwise or look for bogeys under your bed, for you’ll never be at peace.

    We should take Octo as he is and will be – not as he was. Today – he spoke the ‘truth’ (small caps).

  9. Don’t be fooled, this old Fuchs is sly. After his first visit to Bersih4 he realised people would think that he supports Bersih and its aim. Thats why he came today to say he doesn’t support Ambigas rally which is about clean governance and elections. Apart from respect as a senior citizen we don’t owe him anything. Kick out this bunch of crooks with their crooked bridge!
    Next should be PRs turn with Anwar in the forefront, yes we owe Anwar that after what mahathir and his sidekick najib did to him and his family.
    Remember the story about the arab and his camel!

  10. You guys are unwilling to see the big picture, which Mahathir clearly does, the old fox knows very well what Machiavelli said, “It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”

    The Oppo is in a mess. Najib is in a bigger mess and the field is open again for opportunistic hacks of every persuasion. Coming out onto the streets and being with folks who want change revitalises his public persona amongst a new generation who only know him by reputation.

    It is also giving the finger to his adversaries in UMNO and emboldening his allies. This also is symbolic of some sort of cultural change within UMNO which is very appealing to those Malays who are disgusted by UMNO but don’t trust the Oppo.

    I spent the weekend wandering around the streets of KL with some old school PAS lads(lasses), with their folks in tow. Er..I mean the GHB folks or whatever they are calling themselves these days. There was an infusion of Malays this morning and anecdotally speaking, most of them claimed they feared some sort of urban unrest which was what kept them away.

    I read some where a puerile wanker who tried to claim that the reason why Malays were not present because it was some sort of class thing….”they are the ones who are serving you in Starbucks….” or some such bullshit.

    Never mind that I met hordes of working class Chinese, Indians and Malays, all who made less than 2K a month, [and forget the fact that the original Hindraf demo – which revisionist would have you believe did nothing to set off all these streets protests culture(s) was mainly a working class endevour] but were on the streets for….well.. everyone had their own reasons, some gelled with others, but it was like S. Thayaparan said in his article in defence of BERSIH, that many folks with different agendas all taking advantage of a peaceful assembly to gather and let their discontent be known.

    I’m not saying that this was not powered by some kind of middle class agitation but what I’m saying is that it is not confined to it. So some critics talk about the carnival atmosphere of it all and I say, hell yes.

    I have witnessed first hand violent demonstrations in Asia, Africa , Eastern Europe and the Middle East and a cynical prick like me is always impressed by the public spiritedness of Malaysian demonstrations.

    Unlike the cesspool of crypto racism of Malaysiakini’s comment section and the dumbass spew bile, never think and simply condemn nature of Opposition supporters rhetoric, here were folks every ready to lend a helping hand, conscious of the plight of their fellow citizens and acting in a civilized manner.

    I wish this kind of simpatico existed in every day life in Malaysia instead of these street protests that happens every now and again.

    Of course I am not forgetting the coppers. Caught up with some of my anti narco friends and chatted up some policewomen , who were actually quite thrilled at the way how everyone was behaving and the party like atmosphere of it all.

    These same women were also absolutely ecstatic when Octo showed up. “He really cares for the people” one of them said, I was glad that she though of the crowds as “people – Malaysians”.

    I didn’t realize you were attending Mr. Merican, we could have met up and I could have introduced you and the missus , to some of my friends – protestors, cops , activists, artists and unfortunately lawyers.

  11. Much as I believe Mahathir has some hidden agenda like wanting his son to be the next PM soon, I also believe he genuinely believes like the rest of us that Najib is not fit to be our PM in view of all those lies about Altantuya n IMDB. Najib must go NOW so our ringgit n country’s image will improve. We can’t have a thief and liar as our PM. Disgraceful.

  12. Din ,
    I posted 2 comments on 2015. 08 .29 , at about 2.22am, shown below, in

    ”Opinion: Bersih 4.0 is a Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia”
    by Maria Chin Abdullah” who had written for Asiasentinel, that was featured in your blog in the link, .

    My 2 comments are:



    After reading Maria’s piece , I was much relieved that BERSIH 4 ‘s objectives could stay focus on the ” Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia”, but today Mahathir has hijacked the people’s power, the extent is yet to be measured, but appears quite large, given by The Malaysiakini coverage . My apprehension, unfortunately had become quite real.

    I hope BERISIH Chairman and Committee will re clarify and reiterate its stand quickly that ” BERSIH 4 Clean , Fair and Free Election and Government ” only . Otherwise the people will be confused and misled. BERSIH will be blamed.

  13. Errors regretted, my earlier 2 comments made should read :

    When BERSIH is 4 ” Clean, Fair and Free Election and Government ”, it is on TARGET, because it was grown out of the 4 fundamental bases of ‘’ Accountability, Competency, Governance and Transparency’’ that evidently would provide a clean platform for successful and sustainable government in working for the benefits of the people and the country.
    The people and leaders from all sides, across nation, should give 110 % support and march collectively and peacefully, inclusively and decisively for sake of the present and future generation.
    Every political and institutional leaders has vouched his loyalty to the Country and to work for the betterment of the people’s welfare.
    Except for health reasons, they are expected to show up at the Rally, to express their sincerity and commitment to the welfare of the people of Malaysia, because ‘’BERSIH is 4 All ‘’
    All are invited, including the PM and the members of the Umno Baru Supreme Council and BN. If they do present themselves at the rally, it would make a DOUBLE CELEBRATION for the MERDEKA DAY.
    Their sincerity in working for a better and brighter Malaysia, will be tested and recognized, at least, for a new beginning.

    ”Call for Democratic Reform in Malaysia”

    Finally, It is clearly, a right call .
    ”BERSIH 4 ALL”
    ” BERSIH 4 Clean , Fair and Free Election and Government ”

    Thank you all . Many (and I) are initially apprehensive of its call, earlier.

  14. The question is whether good Dr. Jekyll has already got the evil Mr. Hyde eliminated and buried or is he hidden away, dormant but still very much alive?

    It seems like the agenda of the old fox is only to remove Najib so as to restore the old status quo, in order to revive UMNO and the old system.
    I am afraid the dire situation the country is in, warrants a complete rebuilt of a new engine, an overhaul is not just good enough.

    To achieve this, a caretaker government not a unity government, that consists of capable men and women from across the political divide, civil service, social activists and industry, is required to rebuilt and restore Malaysia to her full potential.

    The conundrum, however, is in finding a way or a leader of influence who is eminent, honest and selfless enough to lawfully, select and put together such a cohesive group of people to do the job, the least of which is to achieve the 4 demands of Bersih 4.

    If we can achieve that, there is perhaps hope for a better and more inclusive Malaysia for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion, gender and political persuasion.

  15. Mahathir eased in Abdullah Badawi and then kicked him out for not following orders. Then he put in Najib and now wants to do the same thing – it is clear that he thinks the country belongs to him and he could do whatever he likes. Some people say we should forget the past. To them I’ll say this: very few people would hire anyone who was a thief even if the theft involved only a few ringgit. Nor would any organization accept anyone who’ve had a history of massive corruption. Not to say someone who was more dishonest than any living politician I’ve ever known – who’d hurt or even destroyed the lives of hundreds of people and their families through the ISA. To say we can forgive Dr M is to say, in the name of “seeing the larger picture”, that it is all right for anyone to commit the most heinous crimes so long as they took place “in the past.” If that is the case, people like Adolf Eichmann and Franz Stangl would’ve been left alone and not hunted down decades after WW2. I’m not suggesting that Dr M was as evil as the Nazis; he doesn’t need to be hanged. Just some prison time will do. Then, after he’d served his time, he can attend a Bersih gathering and talk about being there “for the people.”

  16. happy 58th independence day to u and better half dato

    my reply to the caption of the article is a resounding ‘no he’s not’

  17. Octo doesn’t subscribe to the 5 points put forward by Bersih 4. Octo’s only agenda in being seen at Bersih 4 is to pursue his ope of getting Jibby removed. Octo clearly said that he didn’t agree with Bersih 4 but for the sake of the racket.

    Having said that Octo is finding difficulty in getting a platform to further his agenda and saw the opportunity in Bersih 4. He said he wasnt with Bersih 4, so why is he there?

    CLF, Octo survived this long because so many people are praying for his long life just for him to see the day his legacy crumbles if nothing else. Many people dont want to wait for the hereafter but would like to see justice meted out in their lifetime.

  18. Indeed if TDM had come my way during my 2 days BERSIH walk, i wud hv waled away fr him. His statement on his 2nd day that ‘he does not care the demands of BERSIH n he only wants Najib go away’ clearly shows he is still arrogant as far as his style of govt is concerned such as non-transparency on contracts /toll agreement , election manipulation, lack of parliamentary democracy etc.. he must b desperate nnout of option to kick out Najib such that he came to Bersih twice

  19. Politicians always say that what they are doing is for the greater good for the nation something that even God will be reluctant to invoke. But every time the politicians invoke this line they want more and more sacrifices from citizens without wanting to pay for the trade-off. Good Governance. Good Governance has no term limits and in this internet age the sooner governments learn this the better for all of us. The people are crying for opportunities that will allow then to be the best they can be but Third World governments seem to be stuck in the same grove. Cakap Ta Sama Bikin.

    The exercise of power must be supervised at all levels of government. This can only be achieved by paying homage to the principle in Rukun Negara, ‘ Kedaulatan Undang-Undang’. On the 31st of August every year t The Rukun Negara is read out loud and clear. I just finished listening to it. There lies our salvation and nobody, I repeat nobody should be above The Rukun Negera.

  20. Let’s face it — for a group that makes up more than 60pct of the country’s population, the Malays accounted for probably less than 20pct of the Bersih crowd.
    And Conrad is right — it’s NOT because the Malays were serving you chicken at Nando’s or manning the LRT controls.

    Were they afraid of the police and the FRU? Were they anticipating some unrest and were cowed into not attending? I doubt it.

    I can think of two reasons that the Malays did not turn out in force for Bersih 4.
    One, PAS’ influence to rally the Malays has been underestimated. This bodes ill for the Harapan Baru people. Despite the presence of its top guns, the average Malay cannot be swayed to protest in the most urban area of the country against a regime that is corrupt to its core — a fact that must surely not have escaped the Malays.
    Two, the majority of the Malays are fine with the country being plundered if it was done by one of their own. No one, not even the simplest of UMNO’s simpletons, believe that the U$700m was donated by some Arab fellow. That leaves only one reasonable conclusion as to how Najib got the money. And if Mahathir is to be believed, the cash is stolen from 1MDB (read taxpayers).
    I mean, where is the Malay outrage despite all that has come to light? Well, besides the lady in Langkawi shouting to anyone who was willing to listen that Najib has been pissing on the UMNO masses.

    Looking back, the best opportunity for us to be rid of the BN regime was the GE 1999 after Anwar Ibrahim was sacked when Malay outrage and emotions against the Mahathir regime were running at a maximum high. But in one moment of hesitation, the Malaysian Chinese/Indian electorate screwed it all up and threw Mahathir a lifeline.

    Najib can’t even be bothered to have the police beat the protesters up or have the FRU fire water cannons at the Bersih 4 crowd. Why? Because most of the Bersih folks simply did not have the requisite color to threaten Najib’s position.

    Mahathir was reported to have likened Bersih 4 to the people’s power revolution in the Philippines that toppled the Marcos kleptocracy in 1986. This is dangerous. We must be reminded that Marcos’ bloodless ouster was also due to what is now regarded as Marcos’ finest act as president — his refusal to order the army to shoot the protesters. Even when the army general on the ground was ready to strike to quell the revolution.

    I feel a bit more pessimistic after the Bersih 4 rally. The point can certainly be argued that PAS has ceded less ground to the Harapan people than earlier thought — even in urban areas, and that the Malay majority is unmoved with Najib’s conduct or corruption.

  21. This ass claims that he is here for the people.

    ” People ” for him only means he , his family and his cronies .

  22. chungtat ,
    Without Mahathir , Malaysia might have raced pass Singapore.
    Development or Development of large numbers of ”Crooket” Waste Baskets? and on separation, where Malaysia is on par in terms of Income per income and value
    per MYR= S$ , now RM3 = S 1,
    Malaysia’s US$ 9,000. against Singapore’s US$ 60,000. or
    RM 27,000. against RM 180,000. respectively, expressed in the currencies stated ?

    A retired PM is a former PM who is a retiree and is a retiree.

  23. Thank you, Kilau.I agree with you to some extent . I do not think that Malaysia could have ever raced pass Singapore even without Tun Mahathir. This is because circumstances are so different in both countries. For one, race and religion are no problem in Singapore. Another thing, the civil service in Singapore is strong and dynamic except for a few wrng cases. I know because I was part of it in the late 1950s whe the PAP came iinto power. The leadrship there is fully and truly committed to building up Singapre a a strong island state which it did. In Malaysia, race, religion, money and “arrogance” among the grassroot, the people, some of the civil servants, the politicians, etc seem to play a big part that does not promote national unity. It would be nice if the day comes when the people of Malaysia can all say “We are all Malaysians”. As an oldie, I pray for that day before I go. Thanks again, Kilau. Chung Tat.

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