PETALING JAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said he was still doing things “his way”, when asked about remarks by Attorney-General Tommy Thomas that he was now a “changed man” after returning as prime minister last May.
Speaking at a question-and-answer session with Malaysian students in London, Mahathir said Thomas was “both right and wrong”.
“I’m still myself, I’m still operating in the same way, but I have to show respect for the wishes of others, particularly with regard to what they call cronyism,” Mahathir said.
Tommy reportedly said he “absolutely believed” Mahathir was a reformed man.
“In my dealings, Tun has been right and proper. In fact, on the first day, he informed me, ‘Tell me if there’s something wrong, tell me if I can’t do it’.
“So I said, ‘Yes, Tun, I will’,” Tommy was quoted as saying in an interview with Malaysiakini recently.
Mahathir meanwhile said it was a common misconception that he had helped his “cronies” in the past, adding that he only helped “those who were capable of benefiting from businesses”.
“But, if you ask someone who has no knowledge of business, ask him to construct buildings and give him contracts to do something which he does not know, with no evidence of success in the past, then you’re inviting failure,” he said.
Mahathir said things were “totally different” from the last time he was in power.
“When I became prime minister in 1981, everything was in place. The civil service was well trained, they did their part, and then corruption, of course, it was there, but it was hardly damaging to the country.
“The priority for us this time around now that I am prime minister again, is the whole government machinery. It has become corrupt. They are literally stealing money,” he said.
“But not all of them, not the officers who are here,” he quipped.