Monday, January 24, 2022

Dr M tells how he ‘put a stop’ to Guan Eng’s trusted adviser

The former prime minister gives an instance of how he said a DAP leader had provided ammunition to Umno cybertroopers.

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Dr Mahathir Mohamad has singled out a senior DAP man described as a trusted adviser to former finance minister Lim Guan Eng over his unauthorised involvement in government business, saying it showed how some actions had only provided bullets for Umno to exploit racial issues against the Chinese-dominated party.

Writing in his soon-to-be-launched memoir that promises to be a “tell all” about events covering his 15-year retirement before his return to the top office in 2018, Mahathir said the DAP man was “delegated a lot” by Lim, but had come to think that he could wield power over civil servants.

He said the individual also took part in business negotiations involving the government despite not being empowered to do so, and had resorted to threats.

“It’s not the way a government works, and I put a stop to all instances of it that I was aware of, but it was this kind of behaviour that allowed the Umno cybertroopers to play up ethnic insecurities,” Mahathir wrote in the 304-page “Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia”, his second memoir after his biographical “A Doctor in the House”.

The book will be available at major bookstores in Malaysia and Singapore later this month at RM100 per copy.

While Mahathir did not name the individual, it is well known that a senior DAP leader who is also an elected representative in the Klang Valley had been Lim’s close confidante at the finance ministry during the PH administration.

Relating one incident involving the adviser, Mahathir said he threatened a property developer who had faced financial problems in a joint venture project with the government to develop a multi-billion ringgit complex in Kuala Lumpur.

In the agreement which was made during Najib Razak’s administration, the government agreed to provide a loan to the developer with certain conditions, which included the entire project being handed over to the government if it fell behind schedule.

“Now, this particular DAP adviser did in fact make this threat despite the fact that billions had already been spent, and he did so without reference to or indeed getting any authorisation from the government.

“There were also occasions when this adviser spoke publicly on behalf of the government despite having no standing to do so,” Mahathir wrote.

Mahathir said this was one of many problems he had dealt with during the 22 months that he helmed the PH government.

He said any proposal by a minister would have to be agreed on collectively in the Cabinet and not by him alone.

“For the most part, Guan Eng always referred to me and sought my approval on almost all his initiatives. In fact, even in Cabinet meetings, every time he proposed something, he would end it by saying ‘if the prime minister agrees’,” wrote Mahathir, who resigned in February 2020 after the PH coalition collapsed following disagreements between component party leaders on the back of pressure from PKR supporters to replace Mahathir with their party chief Anwar Ibrahim.

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