Return of Dr M ‘worst answer’ to Malaysia’s woes, says old rival

Lim Kit Siang arriving at the ‘Faham GST, Tolak GST’ rally at Sultan Sulaiman Club, Kg Baru on December 20, 2013. Lim said today that bringing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad back into Putrajaya’s fold was the ‘worst answer’ to the country’s problems. — Picture by Choo Choy May

(The Malay Mail) – Bringing Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad back into Putrajaya’s fold was the “worst answer” to the country’s problems, nemesis Lim Kit Siang said today when blaming the former prime minister for many of Malaysia’s ills.

Lim also asserted that the proposal made by former information minister Tan Sri Zainuddin Maidin was another piece of an alleged plot to halt or reverse the reforms being undertaken by the current administration.

“Malaysia does not need a return of Mahathir to Putrajaya or a resurrection of the past Mahathirish policies which have caused the loss of millions of the best and brightest talents from Malaysia who could have taken Malaysia to a higher and faster rate of economic development…” Lim said in a statement today.

Hurling familiar barbs at his long-time rival, the Gelang Patah MP said the country’s fourth prime minister must shoulder the responsibility for the country’s middling economy and the deterioration of its many institutions.

The DAP veteran claimed that Malaysia would have become a developed nation on par with Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong were it not for the Dr Mahathir’s polices, which he said resulted in the country being overtaken by the states that had once lagged behind.

“The return of Mahathir and Mahathirism will be the worst answer for the solution of Malaysia’s many problems, which stem from the lack of political will and vision to steer the country towards a new direction as a united, harmonious, just, democratic and competitive Malaysia,” he said.

Earlier today, Zainuddin said there was no need to resurrect the Internal Security Act (ISA) following recent calls, but suggested that Dr Mahathir be empowered to deal with the “religious extremists” in the country.

“He must be brought back into the administration, not as prime minister but to deal with the virulent threat of racial and religious threats that are reigniting after 50 years as well as economic pressures,” the former information minister wrote.

On Thursday, Dr Mahathir suggested the ISA be reintroduced to deal with “religious extremists” in the ongoing row over “Allah” between Muslims and Christians.

He previously questioned Christian motives for insisting on the Arabic word, and told the community to stop “annoying” Muslims in the peninsula.

Dr Mahathir is the nation’s fourth and longest-serving prime minister. He stepped down from office in 2003.

Although there were expectations that he would serve in a “Senior Minister” role similar to that of Singaporean contemporary Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Mahathir left the administration but has remained active in politics.

The ISA was repealed in 2011 as part of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s pledge to afford Malaysians greater civil liberties.

Among others, the colonial era law was criticised for being a tool to silence political dissent, most famously during the 1987 Ops Lalang crackdown under Dr Mahathir.

Yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said reintroducing the law would be difficult, but said such a role could be filled by amending existing laws or enacting new legislation.