Democracy lessons from Dr M? What irony, minister says

Abdul Rahman Dahlan

(MMO) – For Opposition leaders to back the man who once jailed them in their call for institutional reforms is plain irony, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan (pic) said today.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) strategic communications director named PKR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and his son and party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as among the top government critics who have joined forces with “self-described dictator” Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, even as the people are “ignoring the sad and increasingly deranged rantings of a bitter old man”.

“After all, why would anyone take lessons on democracy from a self-confessed dictator?” he asked in a statement, in response to the retired prime minister’s caustic remarks against the Najib administration’s level of democracy in his last blog post dated September 30.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department also noted that another new Dr Mahathir ally is former critic Datuk Zaid Ibrahim who once described the 91-year-old as “authoritarian” and blamed for destroying the rule of law, Malaysia’s judicial independence and the death of democracy in Umno.

“Despite this, he is now asking for a return to Dr Mahathir’s rule,” Abdul Rahman said.

Far from being a democracy guru, the Kota Belud MP said Dr Mahathir was in fact just an angry and bitter old man because he has purportedly failed to remove the democratically-elected government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak so his son could take over.

“He is angry that when it comes to democratic elections, he and his allies keep failing,” he said, and pointed to the July parliamentary by-elections and the May Sarawak elections that saw bigger electoral wins for the BN.

He also said that contrary to allegations, the Najib administration has since undertaken a whole raft of institutional reforms to restore the rule of law, the courts’ independence that Dr Mahathir did away with during his time.

“The right to protest has been codified into law for the first time under the Peaceful Assembly Act, and Malaysian democracy flourishes in a way that it never did under Dr Mahathir,” Abdul Rahman said.