At 95, Dr Mahathir still in politics because of ‘love for country’

Kamles Kumar Noor Azam Shairi

Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says he is keen to stay on in politics in spite of being ousted by his former party, Bersatu, because he loves the country. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, November 16, 2020.

“KNOWING the way and not contributing would be wrong.”

And this is why at the age of 95, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is still actively involved in politics.

The nonagenarian told The Malaysian Insight that his love for the country is the force that keeps him going despite his age.

“This is my country. I am proud of it and I think we can do as well as anybody else. That drives us and we see the way,” Dr Mahathir said.

The Langkawi lawmaker said in spite of his being ousted by his former party, Bersatu, he still is keen to stay on in politics as he still has much to contribute to the nation he has helped shape.

“I thought I had shown the way for this country (to move forward) – from being a very poor agro-based country to becoming an industrialised country.

“You did not see any of the high-rise buildings when I became PM in 1981 but this happened, because it can happen.

“There are people who are capable of doing this but if you don’t enable them to do it, this country will never grow,” he said.

Dr Mahathir resigned as prime minister in February when he did not consent to Bersatu breaking away from the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition, which led to the collapse of the government after just 22 months.

Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin went on to form the Perikatan Nasional government with Umno, PAS, Sarawak’s Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) and other Barisan Nasional component parties.

Since then, Dr Mahathir has parted ways with Bersatu and along with five other members of Parliament, formed Pejuang, another Malay party.

Dr Mahathir has constantly slammed the new government for working together with kleptocrats in Umno, especially former prime minister Najib Razak, whom he has labelled a “prisoner”, and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is facing a slew of criminal charges.

The Pejuang chairman added he was shocked when politicians tried to profit from public coffers as they were paid adequately and everything was provided for them.

“I cannot understand why people don’t love the country and want to make money out of the country. That is foreign to me.

“For me, the money I get is not important, I think I was overpaid as PM. I didn’t have to use my money at all. Everything was provided for by the government,” Dr Mahathir said.

Malaysia’ economy saw rapid growth during the 1980s and ’90s under the helm of Dr Mahathir, as it moved from being agriculture-based to becoming a manufacturing hub. Vision 2020 was unveiled during the tabling of the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1991– The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 16, 2020.

Vision 2020

Dr Mahathir was disappointed that his brainchild, Vision 2020, did not come into fruition as there were multiple policy shifts between his two successors, after he first resigned in 2003.

“I believe if we had continued the policies, we would have grown and achieved Vision 2020.

“What I did not expect was my successors not following through with the plan. They implemented new approaches and also misused their powers,” he said.

Vision 2020 was introduced by Dr Mahathir during the tabling of the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1991. It called for the nation to be self-sufficient by 2020 – this encompassing all aspects of life from economic prosperity, social well-being, to having a world-class education system, political stability, and attaining psychological balance.

The former Umno president said corruption was the main factor and blamed the sixth prime minister Najib Razak in particular for the economic mess the country is in, which he says will “last for some time”.

He said when Najib was mired in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, the country had to borrow billions from other countries including China, which in turn has become a burden to the country’s economy.

“There were allegations of rampant corruption. During Najib’s time, the allegations were bad. People alleged millions went missing. This was not expected by anyone, not even me.

“Money also was owed, and that burdened the country. If this was allowed to continue, our country would have been bankrupt.

“This has happened and there will be lasting effects for a long time,” Dr Mahathir said.

As the infighting between political parties continued to dominate headlines, Dr Mahathir warned about the challenges of democracy.

“Politics is destroying this country. Democracy is great if you understand how it works. If you don’t understand how it works, it will destroy the country.

“If you look at any democratic country in the world, they usually only have two parties. Either one can win and people don’t tie themselves to the parties.

“But in Malaysia, many people tie themselves to a party to the extent even when the party is doing wrong they still continue supporting it because ‘it is my party’,” he said.

The former prime minister warned that Malaysia could end up being torn apart like in some countries in the West, if the country’s politics became too divisive.

“That is where democracy has gone awry, yielding the kind of results that it has yielded in many of the democracies in the West.

“We need to be educated on the weaknesses, strengths and methods that make democracy deliver the promises that have been made,” he added. – November 16, 2020.

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  • Big joke.

    Posted 3 years ago by Visvanathan Somasundaram · Reply

  • You are the ultimate reason for this sad situation in the country. If you had any love for this country which you and you family have repeatedly raped, you will just retire and stop damaging further the situation in the country. You think too highly of yourself and at 95, even (against all reason), you are the best, its time to let go for the others to run the country, even if, obviously according to your perverted vision and judgement, no body is as good as you. Stop trying to be God and trying to the factor that defines everything else that happen in this country. The country will be much better off without you. The damage you have done to enslave the poor Malays to the political elite has cause untold damage to the Malays. Instead of freeing Malays to be amongst the best people in the world, you have nurtured them to become a race lacking in self confidence and self reliant. This game of yours, and the political elites, a culture you started, is the reason the country will continue to deteriorate until another Malay leader is strong enough to break this viscous cycle, Go now and stop meddling with the country already ruined by you and let someone else pick up the ashes and let the phoenix soar again to great heights.

    Posted 3 years ago by Mike Mok · Reply

    • Well said

      Posted 3 years ago by Elyse Gim · Reply

  • Not love for the country but your race fanatism will go down on the day you demised. You have done enough damage to the race relations of this country and even after a decade of independence, you still harp on this kekuatan Melayu and the special privileges when all your own people have failed you miserably and you want to keep reviving till your last breath??????

    Posted 3 years ago by Swaminaidu Venkatasamy · Reply

  • Dont lie mahathir it is not love for country just admit it is love to be active just to make ur son mukhriz PM also to protect ur rich children. U are no where close to STATESMAN u are Fake Patriot of Malaysia.

    Posted 3 years ago by Lucky Boy · Reply

  • This man has no love for anyone save himself. If he has any shred of love for this country do us a big favour. Please just go away quietly.

    You said Anwar was not a good leader butll

    Posted 3 years ago by Tan Tee Keong Jeremy · Reply

  • This man has no love for anyone save himself. If he has any shred of love for this country do us a big favour. Please just go away quietly.

    You said Anwar was not a good leader butll

    Posted 3 years ago by Tan Tee Keong Jeremy · Reply

  • Lee Kuan Yew loved his country to the very end but not this man. This man has no love for the nation, only self preservation.

    Posted 3 years ago by Elyse Gim · Reply