Crackdown on free speech worse under Dr M, says blog

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KUALA LUMPUR: There are many accomplishments former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad can lay claim to, but judicial independence and freedom of speech were not among them.

Pro-Umno blog MyKMU.net, in a posting today, took Mahathir to task over the latter’s verbal attacks against Prime Minister Najib Razak for his alleged clampdown on dissenters who had spoken out against Putrajaya.

It said that restrictions over the freedom of speech and expression during Mahathir’s reign were far worse than it was today, and for him to claim otherwise was “humorous.”

“During Mahathir’s time, if anyone behaved the way (sacked Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief) Khairuddin Abu Hassan and (lawyer) Matthias Chang did, they would not only have been arrested under the Internal Security Act (ISA), but would also be labelled as national traitors and foreign agents.

“They would not have been allowed any trial or the right to speak for two years. Under Najib’s administration, however, they (Khairuddin and Chang) were not only provided the freedom from detention without trial, but were also freed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court from charges under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma).”

The blog was referring to both Khairuddin and his lawyer, Chang, who last year were detained under Sosma for allegedly attempting to sabotage the Malaysian economy and the country’s financial and banking system.

They were accused of committing the offence in France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore, between June 28 and August 26 last year. These five countries are the places where Khairuddin had lodged reports against state-owned investment firm, 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

Mahathir, at a Proton event in Shah Alam yesterday, pledged to continue his fight against Najib until the latter was ousted from his Prime Minister’s post.

“…Every time he opens his mouth, it becomes clear that he is losing his rationality,” quipped the blog.

“Is Mahathir, at the end of his life, plagued by the ‘mad leader’ disease?”