SHAH ALAM, Dec 30 ― Despite apologising earlier today, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad clarified that it did not necessarily mean that he was admitting to any wrongdoing during his tenure as prime minister.
The 93-year-old said the apology was more of a general statement to ensure no parties were offended during his opening speech at the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) annual general assembly today.
“It is in our custom as a Malay to apologise. Whether I admit if I done wrong or not is a different matter.
“We always must be humble and apologise if I offended anyone,” he told reporters in a press conference here today.
The PPBM chairman earlier today made a general apology during his keynote speech and said it is normal for humans to make mistakes.
During his administration, Dr Mahathir was blamed for among others the 1987 Ops Lalang, which was credited with giving the now defunct Internal Security Act (ISA) the reputation of being a “white terror”, after the security law was used to detain 119 people.
Ops Lalang and the use of the ISA then had prompted Malaysia’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, to remark that the country was undeniably “on the road to dictatorship”.
In October, human rights group Suaram had then demanded an apology from Dr Mahathir over Ops Lalang.
Dr Mahathir had also earned public ire when he jailed his then deputy Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998, kicking off the “Reformasi” movement. The two have since patched up their relationship.