Bernama | KUALA LUMPUR, 10-July-2009 — Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said although he often criticised the government, it did not mean that he was not supporting the administration.
On the contrary, he said, the criticisms made were based on his personal observation and he had the right to have an opinion on certain issues.
“So far, (there are) so many things I do not agree with. That is my personal opinion, I am entitled to have my opinion, but it does not mean I do not support the government,” he said when asked for his opinion on the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on his first 100 days in office.
Commenting on the matter, Dr Mahathir, when met after delivering his keynote address at the Discourse on the Institution of the Monarchy and the Malays in the Federal Constitution from the 1Malaysia Perspective, here on Friday, said, however, that he could not make an evaluation of the Najib administration yet.
“I haven’t made a study yet…not a scientific study,” he said.
Asked to comment on the positive aspects of Najib’s administration, Dr Mahathir said among the things that deserved praise was his approach in going to the ground and meeting the grassroots.
“There are (positive aspects), he (Najib) meets more people, he doesn’t sleep. These are all positive (aspects),” he said.
On the negative side, Dr Mahathir said these included the proposal on the third bridge to Singapore and the failure of the government to tackle corruption in the government when there were still individuals who were found guilty of corrupt practices still holding position in the cabinet.
Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the claim by certain groups that the New Economic Policy (NEP) posed an obstacle to the economic growth of the people was not right.
Dr Mahathir, who was also a former finance minister, said the policy which was introduced 38 years ago was not a reason for the slow economic growth.
On the other hand, the open policy adopted by certain countries on foreign direct investment (FDI) and the world economic recession had influenced the growth of the local economy.
Meanwhile on a separate issue, Dr Mahathir conceded that the controversy on the house of former Selangor menteri besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Khir Toyo could affect the position of Umno and the Barisan Nasional in terms of morality.
In this context, he urged Dr Mohamad Khir to explain the source of funds for his house which was said to be worth RM24 million.
“He has to explain where he got the money (from)…(he) can’t just say RM3 million. I too have a house. I spent RM1 million on my house at The Mines. His house is how many times bigger than mine,” he said.
Meanwhile the fourth Malaysian prime minister, who celebrates his 84th birthday on Friday, shared his wish with the people: “My wish is to see Malaysia where people think they are Malaysians and not linked to anywhere else”.
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, when commenting on Najib’s first 100 days as prime minister, said he was happy that Najib’s leadership was getting more acceptance from the people.
“Alhamdulillah, because the support given to him was growing from 42 per cent before he took the oath of office to 65 per cent (based on a survey by Merdeka Centre, a local research centre).
“This means that he had succeeded in leading the country with the policies announced by him from time to time.
“Consequently, these policies will receive public scrutiny in terms of their kimplementation. I hope they can be defended,” he said.