Dr Mahathir Mohamad today responded to claims that he had planned last year’s Malay Congress with Umno and PAS as part of an overall plan to form the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government, saying he only attended the gathering to neutralise critics who accused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government of being anti-Malay.
“If anyone still remembers, I attended the congress to remind the Malays about the need to work hard and to change their attitudes if they wished to stay competitive during these times.
“For me, it was better that I attended and led the congress than allow kleptocrats to use it as a platform to extend their agenda against non-Malays and non-Muslims,” he wrote in his blog today.
Mahathir, who was prime minister under the PH government at the time, raised eyebrows with his attendance of the so-called Malay Dignity Congress on Oct 9 last year.
At the event, he told members of the audience, largely Malay undergraduates, that the Malays should redeem their dignity by taking opportunities instead of asking for more assistance.
In an interview with The Star daily, however, senior minister Mohamed Azmin Ali who held the economic affairs portfolio in Mahathir’s Cabinet said the veteran leader had planned to form the PN government to make himself a prime minister supported by MPs across the divide.
He also asked why Mahathir had planned the congress with Umno and PAS if he was really against working with Umno.
But Mahathir said Umno and former prime minister Najib Razak had been inciting hatred among the Malays of PH which was said to be controlled by DAP.
“Apart from the Rome Statute issue and the ICERD which was linked to the Malay rulers, they also sowed hatred and lies about the death of (fireman) Adib, LTTE, Tabjung Haji and anything at all that was related to Malays and Islam that could be blamed on PH and DAP, in addition to playing up issues of race.
“My stand is, I rejected any form of cooperation with kleptocrats, rejected Umno en bloc and remained with PH at the time,” he said.