PETALING JAYA: A PPBM supreme council member today slammed Sabah Umno deputy information head Ramlee Marahaban for calling former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad a cruel leader compared with current Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Rais Hussin, who heads PPBM’s policy and strategy bureau, said Ramlee needed to re-educate himself in economics and history.
Ramlee, who is also Sabah assistant finance minister, had claimed that Mahathir was not an exemplary figure to expound democracy.
He also claimed that Mahathir had during his rule cruelly punished his political opponents and thrown some of them in prison for standing up to him.
He also urged Sabahans not to forget how Mahathir treated them during his time as prime minister, saying Sabah was neglected under his rule and that the funds provided then were “pitiful”.
In response to this, Rais said Ramlee just had to look at the 22 years while Mahathir was prime minister.
“He (Mahathir) had made Malaysia globally recognised in terms of the economy.
“The cost of living was well managed, and even during the financial crisis in 1997 and 1998, people did not suffer as much as they do today,” said Rais.
He said Ramlee was clearly turning a blind eye to the flaws of “Najibnomics” that had resulted in stagnating wages, inflation spreading out of control and currency depreciation that had led to imports becoming more expensive than ever before.
Rais dismissed Ramlee’s statement that Najib did not look upon his political rivals with hatred and vengeance, unlike Mahathir.
“If you talk about intimidating opposition leaders and all that, Najib has done far more than Mahathir. Look at how people are being arrested, investigated and charged.”
He added that Najib had “perfected the art of political intimidation” by using a number of government institutions.
“When Mahathir was prime minister, he released almost all the political detainees,” he said.
Rais also dismissed the claim that the amount of funds provided for Sabah was “pitiful” under Mahathir.
“You must not look at it in terms of net value as one ringgit was not equal to what it is today.
“Obviously, improvements are always required. East Malaysia needs more infrastructure but Sabah and Sarawak face challenges implementing infrastructure projects.”
Instead of pointing fingers at others, Ramlee and other Sabah Umno leaders should look into what is happening at Sabah and whether the funds allocated are being optimally used or used for other reasons, he said.
PPBM information chief Kamarudin Md Nor said Najib had a long list of failures, including the collapse of Proton, closure of the F1 racing circuit, closure of the 1Malaysia shops, the 1MDB controversy, implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) and hike in petrol prices.