KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — It was during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s 22-year tenure as prime minister when Malaysia first began to “rot”, thanks to corruption and rampant power abuse, Lim Kit Siang alleged today.
The veteran DAP politician pointed out that it was during the Mahathir administration that the famous Operasi Lalang crackdown was carried out, among other mass arrests of anti-government dissidents under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA).
“Furthermore, Dr Mahathir should be reminded… that he single-handed destroyed the independence, impartiality and professionalism not only of the judiciary, but also of other important national institutions like the police, the Election Commission, the anti-corruption agency, and the civil service,” Lim continued to allege in a statement.
Borrowing Dr Mahathir’s words from a recent blog post, the DAP leader agreed that “something is rotten in Malaysia”, but accused his long-time arch nemesis of starting the rot.
He said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent sodomy conviction is proof of it, as although the leader, whom he labelled a “patriot”, had dedicated 47 years of his life to fight for justice, he was still made to suffer in the hands of those in power.
“Yes, something is rotten in Malaysia,” Lim said. “If Malaysians are asked as to who are the top political leaders, past and present, who should be languishing in jail for five years, different names would be mentioned but Anwar Ibrahim would not be among them.”
“This shows the rot in Malaysia, but it is a rot which was started during Dr Mahathir’s 22-year premiership, and by Dr Mahathir himself,” he said.
The Federal Court on Tuesday upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, also sentencing him to five years’ jail.
Anwar will now lose his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat as the law bars anyone fined over RM2,000 or imprisoned more than one year from serving as a lawmaker.
In a blog post two days ago, Dr Mahathir appeared to lash out at the current Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, claiming that those who have dared to speak up or offer constructive criticism are being punished for it.
“Critics are being demonised by the mainstream media, by certain individuals and politicians who had lost. Critics risk their property being seized and auctioned, they may be bankrupted.
“I am now being accused of forcing the government to do the things which should not be done. And there are many more complaints about the state which would give it a rotten smell,” he had written.