Look in the mirror, Salleh tells Dr Mahathir

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KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad should reflect on his own past actions before accusing voters or the Barisan Nasional (BN) leadership of corruption, Salleh Said Keruak said today.

The Communications and Multimedia Minister asked: “Who is Mahathir to accuse the voters of being corrupt when he used to use tactics such as threats and promises of development money to also force the voters to vote for Barisan Nasional?”

In his latest blog posting, Salleh blasted Mahathir for apparently forgetting what he had done to ensure the BN won while he was BN leader and prime minister.

Salleh was responding to Mahathir’s Hari Raya blog posting where the latter said corrupt people in power were whitewashing corrupt practices by making them look halal so that others could be persuaded to accept bribes.

Mahathir lamented that Muslims in Malaysia were “among some of the most corrupt”.

Salleh said, after ranting that Prime Minister Najib Razak had “bought” votes to win the Sarawak state election in May and the two parliamentary by-elections the following month, Mahathir was now accusing voters of being corrupt.

He said there were two ways of motivating a person: giving him the carrot or the stick.

“Voters all over the world will vote according to how it will financially benefit them. This happens even in the advanced west, such as in Europe and the United States.

“So if they are going to be better off financially by supporting you then they will support you,” Salleh said.

The stick strategy meant either punishing voters or threatening to punish them if they refused to vote for any party.

“For example, when Kelantan fell to PAS-Semangat 46 in 1990, Mahathir punished the Kelantanese by cancelling the RM600 million the Federal Government had approved to upgrade Kelantan’s water supply.

“Mahathir had at the time said if they want the RM600 million, then in the next General Election they must vote Barisan Nasional.”

Salleh said that in the run-up to the Nov 29, 1999 General Election, Mahathir had gone on TV to say that if BN did not win a two-thirds majority, the Federal Government would be weak in Parliament and a weak government could not protect its citizens.

According to Salleh, Mahathir had in essence said, “If you do not vote for Barisan Nasional you will not receive money for development and you will face the risk of riots and bloodshed.”

“Now Mahathir says if you vote for Barisan Nasional you are a crook and corrupt. Has Mahathir forgotten what he used to say and do when he was Prime Minister?” Salleh asked.