Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said that the reaction of Damansara MP Tony Pua to his remarks about an “arrogant political secretary” showed that he had been telling the truth in his memoir.
“I did not name him, but obviously he understands that what I said was about him, which in itself is proof that what I said was true,” he said in a session after the launch of his book “Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia”, in which the remarks had been made.
“Why should he respond if it was about somebody else?” he added.
Mahathir and Pua have been trading barbs over the former prime minister’s comments on what he described as a trusted adviser to former finance minister Lim Guan Eng.
In his memoir, he said the adviser had taken 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,” he wrote.
Pua later identified himself as the person referred to, slamming Mahathir for siding with a “crooked businessman” whom he said had made a false claim against him.
He also explained Mahathir’s claims, saying the former leader had been referring to a statement issued in 2018 to the directors of MMC-Gamuda with regards to the MRT2 project.
They also clashed over several other matters including Exchange106, a development project in Kuala Lumpur over which Mahathir said the secretary had threatened the developer.
In another reply today, Pua questioned which Chinese businessman had spoken to Mahathir about him.
“I can only speculate that the likeliest person was someone who wrote to the prime
minister in 2018 to extend his gaming concession by 30 years, in exchange for a RM150 million ‘licence fee’ to the government. The proposal was rejected outright.
“I never met this particular businessman, nor was I involved in the decision-making on the proposal,” he said.