KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 16 – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has told a Malay non-governmental organisation of his fear that Barisan Nasional (BN) will lose in the next general election if Datuk Seri Najib Razak continues as prime minister. Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah, the president of Ikhlas, an NGO representing Malay traders and small businesses, said they met the former prime minister for a dialogue lasting more than an hour in which Dr Mahathir talked about BN’s future under Najib’s leadership.
“Tun (Dr) Mahathir was quite clear on this. He is firm in his stand that he is not in favour of PM. He said BN may lose GE14 if Najib continues to rule,” Ridzuan told The Malaysian Insider. The meeting was held yesterday at Dr Mahathir’s office at the Perdana Foundation in Putrajaya. It was initiated by Ikhlas, or Pertubuhan Ikatan Usahawan Kecil dan Sederhana Malaysia, which wanted to meet the former premier over concerns about the economy and BN’s future. Ridzuan told The Malaysian Insider that they had not intended to discuss Najib’s leadership, but that Dr Mahathir himself had raised the issue.
“It was not on our agenda when we met him but he told us that just because he shook hand with Datuk Seri Najib or took pictures with him, it does not mean that he supported him,” Ridzuan said. He said besides Ikhlas, representatives from Martabat Jalinan Muhibbah Malaysia, a group whose members were mainly former Malay army personnel, the Muslim Consumers Association and a few others were also present at the meeting. Last month, Dr Mahathir had criticised Najib’s leadership and said he was withdrawing support for the latter because his feedback had not been heeded. Dr Mahathir, however, has not made a clear call for Najib’s resignation.
Ridzuan said Dr Mahathir had told the meeting yesterday that mistakes should be pointed out so they can be corrected. “He said what is wrong is wrong. We have to point it out and not sit on the fence. This is the only way to move forward,” said Ridzuan, adding that the Malay NGOs would request another session with Dr Mahathir in the future. Ridzuan also said that all the groups at the meeting agreed that the Sedition Act should not be repealed. “We do not want the Act to be repealed and replaced with the National Harmony Act. We have tried to get a campaign going but it did not receive support.
“The government does not seem to be interested. It is their loss. On the other hand, the opposition has been getting wide coverage. They do not mind if their cause gets no space in the mainstream media because they have the support of the online media,” Ridzuan said. Dr Mahathir had begun the meeting yesterday by talking about Najib, BN’s future and the future of Malay economics, and he predicted that Malaysia would become a consumer nation and not a production powerhouse, according to Ridzuan. “This has to do with the government’s policy to allow foreign nations to open their businesses in the country which affects the country’s income. Our money has been going out in billions because of this,” he said. “Some of us were worried about BN and some did ask what they should do because they somehow feel like they are trapped in the middle,” said Ridzuan.