Mahathir accuses Umno of censoring his views
Former premier says old party colleagues now ignoring him
FORMER Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad, who is embroiled in a feud with the government, says old friends from the ruling party are now ignoring and censoring him.
‘Old friends who had sat on the same table with me for 20 years do not want to get close to me now and I am alone,’ Tun Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying in The Star newspaper yesterday.
The 81-year-old has been accused of trying to bring down the government with caustic attacks on successor Abdullah Badawi, to whom he handed over power in 2003 after 22 years.
He has accused Datuk Seri Abdullah of nepotism and corruption and of damaging the economy and dismantling his legacy by reversing some major decisions including a plan to build a new bridge to Singapore.
At the weekend, Tun Dr Mahathir, who has said he is now a ‘pariah’ in the ruling Umno party, blasted excuses used to keep him from speaking out.
‘People say I am old and senile, unable to talk. Out of compassion, they want me to stay put, on a bed, marking time…that is not right,’ he was quoted as saying by the state Bernama news agency.
The New Straits Times also reported him as complaining that his party was censoring him.
‘I am the former party president yet they don’t want me to talk to the members. I can’t even meet them,’ it quoted him as saying.
‘Universities are barred from inviting me and newspapers are prevented from reporting about me.’
The elder statesman has announced that he will stand in an Umno division contest in his home state of Kedah on Saturday, when delegates will be selected to attend the party’s key general assembly meeting in November.
Tun Dr Mahathir, if elected to attend the meeting, is expected to use the opportunity to again criticise Datuk Seri Abdullah and his administration, and a number of Umno members have pleaded with him not to stand.
Umno vice-president Muhyiddin Yassin was yesterday reported to have told Tun Dr Mahathir to stop criticising the current administration and move on.
The NST quoted him as saying: ‘We know that Tun does not agree with some of the decisions that we have made.
‘But the government has given its explanation, and I believe we do not have to waste time harping on the issues any more.’
Tan Sri Muhyiddin said: ‘We have to move forward and develop our country. These issues do not help us achieve this.
‘It is better that we use the time to explain to the people the government’s development programmes.’
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