KUCHING: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak chairman Chong Chieng Jen said there is a need for Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be prime minister again to save the country when defending Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) choice of naming the 93-year-old former premier as its candidate for the post.
“Recycle is the in-thing now. Environmentally speaking, we need to recycle to save the planet. In this case, we need to recycle Dr Mahathir to save the country. It’s the same concept but different application,” Chong said.
Chong labelled the act of lashing out at their prime minister-designate as a hypocritical act, arguing that leaders of BN Sarawak had all hailed Dr Mahathir as a capable leader when he was the prime minister.
“If Dr Mahathir truly did so many bad things to Sarawak, such bad things were done with the full consent and endorsement by the same BN Sarawak politicians and parties when Dr Mahathir was the prime minister.
“Throughout Dr Mahathir’s 22 years as the country’s prime minister, all the BN Sarawak politicians were full of praise for him and his policies. They called him the ‘Father of Development’. They even rushed to kiss his hands whenever he visited Sarawak. None of them had any criticism of his policies then. Even when Dr Mahathir retired in 2003, for more than 10 years, to these BN Sarawak leaders, his policies and deeds were all very good,” he said at a press conference at the party’s headquarters here yesterday.
Chong, who is Bandar Kuching MP and Kota Sentosa assemblyman, said it was only after Dr Mahathir joined PH that all those acts of his which were previously praised by the state BN leaders suddenly turned sour and became ‘bad things’.
He said Sarawakians must be clear that whatever was done by Dr Mahathir during his 22-year premiership was done with the full knowledge, consent and endorsement of the state BN government that consists of Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB), Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP).
He added that Dr Mahathir’s policies were the BN’s policies.
He asked why BN leaders from Sarawak, many of whom are still serving, did not say a single bad word except praise back then.
As for DAP, he said they “always maintain that the BN governance is terrible, full of corruption, cronyism and self-interest, be it during Dr Mahathir’s time, (former prime minister Tun) Abdullah Badawi’s time or (Prime Minister Datuk Seri) Najib’s (Tun Razak) time.”
Chong went on to allege that the level of BN corruption and cronyism had gone from bad to worse, from national scandals to international scandals, even topping the world’s corruption and money-laundering scandals.
“Now, the prime minister himself is the central figure of the Malaysia-made international money-laundering scandal.
After more than 60 years in Umno and BN, at the age of 92, Dr Mahathir finally realised the disservice BN has done to the country.
“He has the decency to admit the mistake by quitting BN. He is even prepared to spend the remainder of his time, energy and life to topple this kleptocratic regime for the sake of the country.
“Shame on those who have kissed his hand and praised him loud during his time but now continue to follow blindly the BN’s way,” he said.
He stressed that the DAP is determined to replace the current Umno/BN government and carry out institutional reforms, including setting a two-term limit of premiership, having two different persons as prime minister and finance minister, and seeing an independent Parliament, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and other law enforcement agencies.
He added this is so that Malaysia and generations to come will have a better future.