I did not freak out, says Kamarul after social media pan over Dr M

Kamarul Zaman Yusoff (4th from left) with Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, after the forum by Sinar Harian yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: Political analyst Kamarul Zaman Yusoff today accused organisers of a forum on Dr Mahathir Mohamad of trying to block questions from the floor, a day after the event went viral following the former prime minister’s surprise appearance.

The Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) lecturer and opposition critic also defended himself against suggestions that he had “freaked out” over Mahathir’s presence.

“The allegations spreading around social media are untrue, especially the ones with a photo that shows me looking stunned next to him,” he said, a day after participating in the panel to discuss whether the 93-year-old Mahathir was still eligible to lead the government.

Kamarul also took to task DAP leaders Hannah Yeoh and Yeo Bee Yin, whom he labelled as “Christian evangelists”, for “making fun of me on their Facebook pages”.

“Nevermind, they shall reap what they sow,” he said in a lengthy explanation of his arguments yesterday on why Mahathir should not return as prime minister again.

Mahathir, who leads Pakatan Harapan (PH), has been named by the coalition as its candidate for prime minister.

Pictures and videos from yesterday’s forum, “Is Tun M Too Old To Be PM?” went viral after Mahathir made a surprise appearance an hour into the programme.

It is understood that Mahathir had followed the forum on Facebook Live before deciding to go there with his wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali.

Kamarul admitted that he was taken by surprise at Mahathir’s appearance, but said he had suspected the forum was to promote the PPBM chairman.

“Although I realised that this forum might be biased, I chose to attend to present some alternative facts about Dr Mahathir’s abilities.”

He said questions from the audience were barred, denying him the opportunity to criticise Mahathir “to his face”.

Kamarul also attacked moderator Nazri Kahar from Astro Awani, adding that fellow panellists, psychologist Mat Saat Baki and fitness expert Kevin Zahari, “had been assigned” to talk about Mahathir’s mental and physical strength to portray him as fit to be the prime minister again.

“I am also highly aware that the moderator, Nazri Kahar, is a Dr Mahathir supporter and a critic of Najib (Razak), and this is proven by the questions given to me an hour before the event, asking for a comparison between a corrupt younger leader and an innovative older leader,” he said.