Focus strays in Mahathir interview as social media pans host

fathia-latiff-mahathir-mohaPETALING JAYA: A highly anticipated Facebook live interview of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was a let-down for many on social media who ended up panning the session’s host, actress-model Nur Fathia Latiff.

The interview came hot on the heels of international media reports over the US authorities’ latest move to seize assets linked to 1MDB.

It saw Fathia interviewing Mahathir, who in recent times has been touted as a possible prime ministerial candidate for the opposition.

But many of the over 80,000 viewers who tuned in for the session were left upset with Fatiha’s choice of questions, which included whether Mahathir had a role to play in the design of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) and how he had obtained information on 1MDB, of which he is a fierce critic.

Ninety-two-year-old Mahathir, who led the country for 22 years, was accommodating throughout the 46-minute interview, even explaining to Fathia, who is a Universiti Teknologi Mara (UITM) law graduate, the definition of a whistleblower.

Social media users also criticised her for saying she hadn’t seen the impact of the goods and services tax (GST) and for comparing Malaysia to Japan.

One social media user, Husna Murad, said: “Fathia’s questions are childlike. Easy for people who are well-to-do to go shopping even though the economy is down. Try thinking of the fate of those who are unemployed, housewives and orphans.”

Aini Bunga said, “Host can stop”, while Nor Azlin Aburn said the host was “uneducated”. Another social media user named Daud Dahlan asked whether she understood national issues.

Azrul Muhaimin said: “Hahaha… what a joke, comparing Malaysia to Japan… even saying we are backward when questioning… if you compare the United Kingdom with Japan, Japan’s technology is more advanced.”

Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, has been drawing thousands of viewers for his Facebook ‘live’ sessions, which typically focus on current national issues.