Be loyal to party’s struggle, says Mahathir

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

KUALA LUMPUR: Leaders of the country should be loyal to the struggle of the party, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

He said if the party is no longer true to the struggle, it is important that one should not support the party any more.

“You should leave the party. On leaving, you should be big-hearted enough to work with other people who are against the party.

“The choice is either you remain absolutely loyal to the party or absolutely loyal to the struggle of the party.

“Once the party deviates from the struggle, it is important that you remain loyal to the struggle, to the point of leaving the party or even fighting against the party,” he said in his speech at the launch of the Forsea Democracy Festival at Publika here today.

Present were Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari.

While Mahathir did not give any names, he is believed to be referring to the recent acceptance of seven ex-Umno MPs into PPBM. The acceptance of the MPs has drawn criticisms from DAP leaders, in particular.

‘Democracy has succeeded, to a certain extent’

The PPBM chairman said an elected government will initially serve the people, but once it gains power, those in power may use it to enrich themselves and oppress the people.

“Fortunately for us, an election was held and the people exercised their power.

“After 61 years, they decided this is the time for the opposition to take power,” he said.

Mahathir said Pakatan Harapan has made many promises and the nation was now watching the government, for them to implement those promises.

“Unfortunately, they find themselves unable to fulfil many of the promises. And so begins the next round of running down the government.

“If the government stays long enough, it will behave like the previous government.

“It begins to be against the people and find the criticisms levelled at them as unacceptable,” he said, adding that from the fear of losing power, they will employ other means in order to regain power.

The Langkawi MP said democracy in Malaysia, to a certain extent, has succeeded, citing the change in government through a general election.

Mahathir said, normally, those in power would try to retain their positions despite all the objections.

“They will do all kinds of things that are wrong and crooked. They have done this but, unfortunately for them, it has not succeeded.

“The transition from a 61-year-old government to the current government was therefore achieved without violence. There were no fights, no destruction of the country, and no civil wars.

“The incumbent government had to accept it had lost. It also knew if it started any violence to defend itself, it will lose in the end.

“That is the situation that persuaded it to give up without a struggle,” he said.

Mahathir said now was the time for the winners to stay with their promises, but admitted this will not be easy, in part because of the situation left by the past administration, which was so bad, rendering corrective action difficult.

“People, of course, are not patient. They want to see change now, but whether they like it or not, they have to bear with us, bear with the present government because it takes time to correct the wrongs that have been done by the past government,” he said.

Mahathir defended the practice of democracy, saying it had brought peace.

“But it requires a mindset, a culture that is willing to accept changes taking place merely by the stroke of a pen.

“Democracy, in spite of its imperfections, is still the best system of governance that human beings have been able to devise since the beginning of time,” he added.