Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad said politicians who could not stand criticism should not remain in politics. He was taking a swipe at actions by Najib’s supporters and his government lately. “Being cursed, being called names, being accused of corruption or nepotism, being asked to step down, having your portraits being torn down” and other actions were “all to be expected”, he said.
Even the government must expect to be criticised and face rabble-rousing, but action could only be taken if laws were breached. “And that, too, according to due process of law, not just if the committee of the party in power decides,” he said.
He claimed today that he had never taken action against his critics and detractors despite the many insults and derogatory terms used against him.
“I was called all kinds of names… firaun or pharoah, mahazalim, dictator, you name it, just anything derogatory or insulting or demeaning, and I have had it,” he said in a blog posting.
Several police investigations have been carried out against Dr Mahathir for a series of allegations he has made against the government of Umno president and Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Dr Mahathir’s supporters such as former Umno divisional leader Khairuddin Hassan and lawyer Matthias Chang were detained by police earlier this year for investigations on suspicion of carrying out economic sabotage when they were about to go overseas to file reports against the Najib government and 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
The former premier made no direct reference to these, but said that during his time in power he had not taken action against critics. “I did not threaten them, I did not ask the police to question them, I did not arrest, detain and charge them for being terrorists, for sabotaging Malaysia’s banking system, sabotaging Malaysia’s economy. And I did not threaten to sue them, nor did I sue them,” he said.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that everyone was equal before the law and “there should be no exemption or privilege for those in power”
In an indirect reference to the corruption charge against Lim Guan Eng, he said those who “openly buy votes” were not charged but other people, accused of corruption on much smaller scale, were promptly arrested and committed to trial.
“Admittedly the law must apply even if the crime is small. But when big crimes are allowed to go free simply because the person says he is innocent, we must question whether the laws are equally applicable to all,” he said.