‘Charge me’, Dr M says after fake news probe

Mahathir is currently under police investigation after he voiced his suspicion last week that his plane to Langkawi might have been sabotaged. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
Mahathir is currently under police investigation after he voiced his suspicion last week that his plane to Langkawi might have been sabotaged. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, May 3 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the authorities today to just prosecute him if they are confident that he has been spreading fake news as alleged.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman is currently under police investigation under the month-old Anti-Fake News Act 2018 after he voiced his suspicion last week that his plane to Langkawi might have been sabotaged to prevent his contest in the Kedah parliamentary seat.

“They can charge me in court. I have no fake news. Only truth,” he was quoted by The Star Online as saying while on the stump in Pekan, the federal seat of Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Last Friday, Dr Mahathir alleged that a plane he was about to board for Langkawi had been sabotaged after the pilot cancelled the flight just before take-off after realising the Bombardier Challenger CL60 aircraft had a problem.

The 92-year-old, who is contesting in the Langkawi parliamentary seat, said he had to switch planes to ensure he could file his nomination paper as immediate repairs could not be done.

On April 30, the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia said it had investigated the matter, including interviewing the pilots and maintenance personnel of the plane, and concluded that there was no recent reported defect except for an air leakage from the left hand nose wheel.

While Dr Mahathir spoke in Pekan, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Paloh, Johor that his party’s former president was practising double standards with his travel to Langkawi by a private plane.

“In the past, he has accused Barisan Nasional leaders of using private jets but he himself had chartered a private jet to travel everywhere.

“So what they want to throw at us by claiming all sort of issues are double standards because the sabotage claims showed at least that he was in possession of a private jet,” the incumbent Sembrong MP said during a Felcra event in the Chamek settlement this morning.

Hishammuddin added that he would leave any action to be taken by the authorities as there were many allegations raised during the campaign trail that have been found to be baseless.

“Many issues that was thrown at the public were completely or immediately forgotten after the election results are announced.

“This would be the same this time around and I hope the people would not be influenced by present issues thrown around as polling day approaches,” he said, adding that the investigation should be allowed to run its course.

Malaysians will be voting next Wednesday

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, has also called out to Umno members to switch their support to the PH pact in GE14.

In an open letter dated April 17, the former BN leader said PPBM is opposing Umno “because it is no longer Umno”.

According to Dr Mahathir, the current Umno no longer upholds the original spirit of its founders, which he claimed to be the reason why the Malays have come to “hate” the party.

Dr Mahathir remains widely popular with Langkawi’s residents, and is seeking a comeback by wresting the seat from BN’s incumbent Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad.