LONDON: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today expressed disappointment with his predecessor Najib Razak, saying the ousted leader was unlike his father Abdul Razak Hussein whom he had held in high regard.
He said Razak was most concerned about the plight of villagers and had brought about massive development in rural areas. Razak’s son, however, was nothing like that, he said.
All of a sudden, he said, Najib had told him that “cash is king”.
“When we say ‘cash is king’, it means that we can do anything at all with money. When we don’t have money, then we resort to stealing it,” he told Malaysian journalists at the conclusion of his two-leg visit to the UK.
He said he was also disappointed with the damage done to the government machinery under Najib’s leadership, adding that even government officers had campaigned during elections.
Mahathir said when he became prime minister for the first time in 1981, there had been no problems with the government machinery.
“No problem, except having to make decisions on this matter and that. The government machinery functioned well.”
On a separate matter, Mahathir, who is Pakatan Harapan chairman, voiced confidence that PKR president-elect Anwar Ibrahim would win the Port Dickson by-election on Oct 13.
He said the large number of candidates would result in a split in votes.
The by-election will see a contest between seven candidates, including former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad and Anwar’s former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
When asked about the manner in which the seat became vacant, Mahathir said there was nothing illegal about it although some challenged it on moral grounds.
“Legislation allows an elected representative to step down and give way to others,” he said.
The Port Dickson seat was vacated by Danyal Balagopal Abdullah of PKR on Sept 12 to pave the way for Anwar’s attempt to return to Parliament.
Mahathir said victory in the by-election would enable Anwar to be an MP.
“He is contesting to occupy a vacant seat. When he wins, he will become an MP,” he said.