Former Malaysian PM Najib calls Mahathir a dictator

Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak (left) said Dr Mahathir Mohamad was oppressive during his two tenures as prime minister. PHOTOS: ST FILE

PETALING JAYA – Jailed former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has hit out against his predecessor, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, calling the latter a dictator who has no right labelling others as such.

In a post on his Facebook on Sunday, Najib said the former premier should not be calling others a dictator when Dr Mahathir was oppressive during his two tenures as prime minister.

The 97-year-old Dr Mahathir served as premier twice – from 1981 to 2003, and from 2018 to 2020 – and resigned both times. He lost his parliamentary seat of Langkawi in the 2022 general election.

“Who was the one who enforced the Internal Security Act (ISA) and changed the country’s Attorney-General, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief and Chief Justice for his own benefit?” Najib asked.

Najib also pointed out a number of alleged injustices which he claimed he faced under Dr Mahathir’s administration, claiming a person could only be called a “dictator” when he has oppressed people.

“(It was Dr Mahathir) who prohibited my family from leaving the country before any charges were concluded. (It was he) who froze our family’s bank accounts,” he said.

Najib was responding to Dr Mahathir’s remarks on Sunday, where he accused Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of being a dictator after a pro-Malay gathering was called off.

The Sekretariat Proklamasi Orang Melayu (Malay People’s Proclamation Secretariat) was reportedly forced to scrap the event planned for Sunday after several venues cancelled its bookings.

Dr Mahathir was scheduled to attend the gathering, which he said would have been attended by about 2,000 participants.

Najib is serving a 12-year prison sentence after being convicted by a Malaysian court of corruption linked to 1Malaysia Development Fund (1MDB). He has consistently denied wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, former lawmaker Kasthuri Patto echoed the sentiment against Dr Mahathir, claiming he had no moral authority to label Datuk Seri Anwar a dictator.

Ms Patto recalled how her late father was detained under the now-defunct ISA during the infamous operation in 1987, when Dr Mahathir served his first tenure as prime minister.

“You detained them for months, years and decades using the draconian ISA while never allowing them to be tried in court. It was an iron-fisted rule.

“Please don’t be a wedge between patriotic Malaysians in nation-building as we need progressive and visionary leaders,” she said in a statement. THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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