Azmin’s labelling of Dr Mahathir sparks anger

(New Straits Times) – Deputy Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Mohamed Azmin Ali angered Barisan Nasional assemblymen at the state assembly yesterday by calling former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad “mamak bendahara”.

Mamak bendahara refers to a senior official in the old Malay kingdoms.

Azmin, who is Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman, accused Dr Mahathir of usurping the powers of the Malay rulers through the constitutional amendment of 1983.

“The powers of the rulers were transferred to mamak bendahara,” he said in debating the amendment to the Selangor state constitution here.

His jibe angered Datuk Subahan Kamal (BN-Taman Templer).

Subahan demanded that Azmin retract his statement which was mala fide and had insulted the former prime minister.

However, Azmin refused, saying that mamak bendahara had been a term used by the Malays since the olden days.

Azmin contended that it was only a coincidence that the word “mamak” seemed to refer to Dr Mahathir’s background. He said mamak bendahara as a term was not an insult but an honour.

Speaker Datuk Teng Chang Khim supported Azmin, saying that Azmin did not have to retract his statement as it was not considered insulting.

In his debate, Azmin also accused Datuk Prof Dr Ramlah Adam, who is dean of Management Science and Policy Faculty at Universiti Teknologi Mara, of being used by Umno to twist historical facts to serve a political purpose.

Ramlah was also accused of being used by the party to spread racist politics.