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Anwar shutting down critics, says Mahathir after sudden axing of Malay unity event

The former leader accuses Anwar Ibrahim of an increasing intolerance to free speech.

Nur Hasliza Mohd Salleh
2 minute read
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad today lashed out at the current administration, saying Anwar Ibrahim has been showing increasing intolerance to free speech by attacking critics, and accusing the prime minister of being behind the sudden cancellation of an event on Malay solidarity in Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Mahathir said he had no proof of who contacted the management of the hall booked by the event organiser. 

He added however that he believed none of it would have happened without the instruction or approval of the prime minister. 

“From his speeches, I am sure he was behind this ban to close the mouths of government critics,” he said at the Putra headquarters. 

The Sekretariat Proklamasi Orang Melayu was reportedly forced to cancel the event for the second time after the hall management scrapped the organiser’s booking. 

No explanation has been forthcoming so far. 

It is understood that Mahathir was to have attended the event in his personal capacity and not as a Putra adviser. 

Mahathir said some 2,000 participants had been expected to attend the event, which was supposed to begin at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur this afternoon. 

He did not dismiss the possibility that it could still be held online. 

If they had the opportunity, he said, they would speak of what was “really going on” in the country under the administration of the coalition government led by Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional.

“The media is being filtered,” he said. 

“Anything negative about the government is not permitted to be broadcast. 

“Supposedly this is the best government in the world. But they don’t care about the fate of the Malays.”

Mahathir also claimed that the government’s efforts to portray Malaysia as a multiracial country were to deny the special rights of the Malays whom he said were the original inhabitants of the country.

When asked about Anwar’s claim of being the best former finance minister in the country, Mahathir said some were eager for the position as it facilitated the stealing of funds. 

“What have we heard since Anwar became the finance minister?” he said. 

“A lot of debts. People already said that the prime minister should not be the finance minister as well, but this is what he has done.” 

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