Dr M says MACC used by PN government to silence opposition

Dr Mahathir Mohamad says government agencies such as the MACC are being used as a tool to silence the opposition.

PUTRAJAYA: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today accused the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government of using the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to apply pressure on opposition politicians, following the arrest of several PPBM Youth members aligned to him in connection with the missing cash of a party leader.

The former prime minister also said the country was going back to the “days of Najib Razak”, saying state agencies were being used to intimidate those who do not support the government,

“We find some government departments are doing things that abuse their authority,” he told a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.

He said MACC was “seeking excuses” to question several PPBM Youth members, saying it was the same tactic employed during Najib’s administration.

“Some people are being questioned on income tax. It was the same thing under Najib.

“It is alright to question PPBM Youth but they are using ‘pressure’,” said Mahathir.

He claimed that a female detainee was questioned in a dark room by men.

“This is a kind of pressure on the youth wing.”

He also claimed there were attempts to bribe government critics with positions.

“They can name anything and they are given. Like posts, ministerial ranks. A minister gets RM18,000 a month. Some people have unfortunately succumbed to this.

“We are going to the days of Najib. As time goes on, it may get worse,” he added.

Mahathir said they had not used the police yet on the opposition but “we are surprised that MACC is doing this; detaining people, questioning”.

Mahathir further asked the reason for switching the lights off when questioning the woman and calling people at night. “If they have evidence, all this is not necessary.”

PBBM chairman position

Mahathir claimed he was still PPBM chairman despite the party’s Supreme Council last night endorsing the action against him and four others to terminate their membership.

He said his position as PPBM chairman was determined by the constitution. “I am not the kind of person to sideline what the constitution says.”

He said when Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin was sworn in to the top position, PH had the majority support in the Dewan Rakyat, as evidenced by the statutory declarations it had.

“Now, he is worried a few of his supporters may desert him but he has carried on sacking the people he does not like.”

He said Muhyiddin had no authority to sack him and the other four. “He is doing everything which is against the law.”

Mahathir said Muhyiddin appeared to be looking for “yes men” to gain support.

But the reality was that Muhyiddin was destroying PPBM as Umno will contest all the seats that PPBM is likely to contest when it comes to the next general election, he added.

He said even though the PN government had just taken over Putrajaya in March, it was showing signs that it is willing to abuse its power.

He added after being in government for two years, PH had placed a lot of professionals in government institutions and companies. These people have now being sacked and been replaced by politicians.

Answering a question on the recent political appointments to GLCs, Mahathir said even those who were facing court charges were being appointed at cash-rich companies.

“I can imagine there will be corruption there,” he added.

On Warisan appointing politicians to GLCs, he said during the PH era, qualified politicians were appointed

Handling of Covid-19 pandemic

On the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said the PN government had done a “good job” but that was because the politicians could not take over the job of professionals.

“It is being run by a doctor. At one time, there were attempts to remove him and put a politician there because it gives them good publicity.

“But there were protests and the officer is still there,” he said, referring to health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

On the handling of the current economic situation, he said a “big amount” of money is being announced but it had not reached the people.

Adding that PH is trying to get details of the distribution of money, he said a lot of SMEs had yet to receive the money allocated to them.

“So the government looks good on paper, but the people are suffering on the ground.”

He said PH would be calling the foreign press to report the truth, further adding that civil servants may also be pressured to follow PN or face transfers.

General election

Asked if a general election will be called soon, he said the country is not ready to have an election due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Furthermore, these polls are costly.

On fears that the Malays will be destroyed, he said such claims did not hold water as it was not easy for DAP to crush the Malays. “This is a tale propagated by Najib.”

He said he looked at the position of PM as a duty to the country. “Not for myself. I think we are overpaid as ministers.”

He said he was not interested in his well being but still wanted “to be of service”. Noting that he was 94 years old, he said: “How many more months do I have?”

Mahathir also said if PH takes over the government again, it would have to once again clean up the “pollution” caused by the present government.

Mahathir said he had no problems with the PKR president Anwar Ibrahim. “Maybe he has some problems with me. That I don’t know.”

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