Opposition exploiting Dr M for political gains, says Azalina

Azalina Othman says she wanted to hear views on the Anti-Fake News Bill from the perspective of the law, but opposition MPs gave opinions from the political point of view. (Twitter pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Azalina Othman Said has accused the opposition of using Dr Mahathir Mohamad for political gain by bringing the former prime minister to join the briefing session on the Anti-Fake News Bill 2018 at the Parliament building today.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said the one-hour closed-door briefing was meant to be between her and opposition MPs, and that the PPBM chairman was not invited.

“I am not sure how he (Mahathir) got in. I held the briefing only for the opposition MPs. But if they (opposition) called him in. What can I do?

“But then again, I was disappointed because I was supposed to be engaging the opposition MPs. We had a lot of laws to talk about.

“In fact, when I wanted to discuss, they talked about political issues. How then to talk about the legislation?” she said.

“I do not blame Dr Mahathir. As for me, he is being used by the opposition because they want to use him just to scare us. But I feel sorry for him,” she said.

Azalina added that the action by several opposition MPs, who left the briefing before it ended, made it difficult to explain the Bill.

“Pagoh (MP) left, so too did Lembah Pantai (MP). They came to talk and then they left,” she said, referring to PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin and PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar respectively.

“In fact, he (Mahathir) also walked out before the briefing ended.”

Elaborating further, Azalina said the government was now more open because it was willing to hold dialogues and briefings with the opposition when it came to drafting laws, as there were no such sessions held when Mahathir was prime minister.

“At least I held a dialogue for public interest so that as elected representatives, they can voice out and express views on the legislation.

“I wanted to hear the views (from the perspective of) the law.

“Instead, they only gave opinions from the political point of view,” she said.