Mahathir praises PKR for its ‘generosity’

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali at the fund-raising dinner.

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) historic win in the 14th general election was PKR’s victory, pointing out that it was the latter’s flags, banners and logo that were used by the four component parties.

“PKR was so generous despite having the right to take control of the government but they did not.

“They realised we only borrowed their logo, symbol, name and flag, and that the victory was PH’s actually, a mix of parties that was deemed illegal by Najib Razak,” Mahathir said during a fund-raising dinner for PH at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here.

He was flanked by his wife Dr Siti Hasmah Mohammad Ali, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and other Cabinet members.

Mahathir earlier pointed out how Barisan Nasional under former premier Najib’s administration went to great lengths to stop the coalition from being registered by the Registrar of Societies, and how PPBM, of which he is chairman, was banned.

That was why the PKR logo was used instead for the four PH parties – PPBM, Amanah, DAP and PKR – as a common symbol for the May 9 polls, he said, adding that the people believed in PKR and PH and that was how they won.

He later urged the crowd to donate funds to PH, saying: “We need money. We can’t do anything without money.”

But he stressed that the money had to be clean, and that the phrase “cash is king” is not right.

“We don’t need stolen money. We rely on honest donations from those who believe in PH’s ability to revive the country,” he said, adding that the next step would be to help the hardcore poor.

Mahathir, who is the MP for Langkawi, also offered an apology in advance should any PH leaders be caught taking bribes.

He gave the assurance that they would face the full brunt of the law.

“That is our stance,” he said.

He reiterated that he was against bribery and said the country would only succeed if it was clean.

Mahathir said while he might not be around in the next general election, PH would lose if their leaders took bribes.

He also thanked tonight’s donors.

On Nov 2, Mahathir announced the coalition’s plan to hold a fundraising dinner with 177 tables priced between RM2,000 and RM7,000 up for grabs.

“Political parties need money. But it is difficult to get it as some fear that it will be deemed as an attempt to bribe or grease one’s wheels (to secure future projects),” he had said then.

An open bidding system was used.

“This way, those who decide will not know who made a bid and there will be no ties between those who bid and those in the government,” Mahathir reportedly said.

Electoral reforms group Bersih 2.0 had urged PH to disclose the names of those who pledged donations for the dinner to ensure there was no element of corruption.

Wan Azizah said tonight that 156 tables were “sold” and RM1.665 million was raised.

She said the money went straight into PH’s accounts. She said this was to ensure a separation of political and government funding.

Several tables were empty tonight.

Later, a canvas sized picture of Mohamad, or Mat Sabu, was auctioned for RM10,000 while a similarly sized picture of Guan Eng and his father Lim Kit Siang was bought for RM100,000 by a man identified only as Wang from China.

An autographed picture of Muhyiddin sold for RM105,000 while a picture of Wan Azizah received a bid of RM150,000 from businessman Deepak Jaikishan.

But this paled in comparison with a picture of Mahathir which raised RM320,000 and another of the Cabinet members just moments before Mahathir was to be sworn in as premier last May which went under the hammer for RM500,000.

Tycoon Stanley Thai won the bid for Mahathir’s picture while the picture of the Cabinet members went to Platinum Victory managing director Gan Yu Chai.

The auction managed to raise RM1.22 million. In total, RM2.885 million was collected from the sale of tables and the auction.

Mahathir quipped it would be better for him to just sell photographs of himself from now on.

Muhyiddin, meanwhile, told the crowd that yesterday’s anti-ICERD (International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination) rally which saw no arrests made was a step forward in the New Malaysia and it was a sign that PH would not curtail the right to speak out.

He pointed out that when rallies were held during the previous regime, arrests were made and speeches were not allowed to be made.

Some were even put in jail but he said yesterday’s rally was proof this would never happen under the PH government.

Mat Sabu and Guan Eng both said PH would strive to fulfil their pledges, with the finance minister adding that Malaysia’s economy would improve in due time, pointing out it was now the top emerging market in Asia according to Bloomberg.

Anwar, meanwhile, said all the races should not be worried as Putrajaya would not neglect them and would instead listen to their grouses.