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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Machiavellian Dr M: Slams Mat Sabu while dealing Najib a backhanded blow

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:43 AM | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Former premier Mahathir Mohamad is stepping up a two-prong psy-war against the Pakatan Rakyat and Prime Minister Najib Razak. Firstly, he doesn't want Pakatan to win the general election, but neither does he want Najib to win the Umno presidency which will follow GE-13.
So what does he do? He attacks one head-on and the other sideways. 85, Mahathir may be, but the wily veteran who ruled Malaysia with a fist of iron for 22 years is still as cunning as ever.
In his latest public appearance, Mahathir told a function in Kuala Selangor that the Najib administration should not have arrested and charged the PAS deputy president. Instead, they should wish for 1,000 Mat Sabus.

According to Mahathir, Sabu had done PAS a great deal of damage and if he were still prime minister he would pay PAS members to "talk nonsense" like Sabu and alienate the people.
"We want to take action, to exert pressure, to use the Internal Security Act I say just let him be. If there were 1,000 Mat Sabu in PAS, they will say things which would hurt people's feelings and these people will vote for BN," Mahathir told the crowd of some 400.
"Ex-servicemen are very angry at Mat Sabu that even the PAS supporters among them may vote for us. So why are we taking action against him?" he asked.
Machiavellian Mahathir
Pundits were however less than convinced, pointing at his well-known Machiavellian streak.
"It is as usual the complete opposite. This is Dr M style. It was a foolish move by Umno to arrest and charge Mat Sabu. It will cost Umno a lot of votes from the Malay middle ground, but of course, Mahathir cannot say that," Kuala Krai MP Hatta Ramli toldMalaysia Chronicle.
On Wednesday, just a week after Najib grandly declared he would make Malaysia the "best democracy" by proposing the repeal of the Internal Security Act and the enactment of new replacement laws, Sabu (pic, in yellow) was arrested and charged under Section 500 of the Penal Code for criminal defamation against the government.
The charges have been lambasted within Malaysia, and international NGOs have also joined the fray, condemning the Najib administration for abuse of power and impinging on human rights of freedom of speech.
Malay unhappiness and international rebuke
Sabu had in a speech on August 21 said there were other freedom fighters for Malaya's independence besides Umno. However, the Umno-owned Utusan newspaper accused him of praising the communists who attacked the police station in 1950, and saying these were the real heroes and not the slain cops and their families.
Sabu has denied the Utusan report and has a video-tape of the speech made that night. He has also launched a defamation suit against Utusan but it has not stopped the Umno leaders from trying to discredit PAS with the matter.
However, their overkill has boomeranged and not only have the charges created more Malay unhappiness with Umno's hit-and-run tactics, international bodies are also slamming Najib for doublespeak and hypocrisy.
"Debate and dispute over historical facts must be welcomed as history is not something permanent, it may change due to new findings, information and critical observation," said Norway-based Armed For The Quill representative Shaharul Anwar Shafie
"The government cannot adopt and should not force its interpretation about any historical event on everyone else. Such actions deny the people freedom of thought and expression."
Within Umno, power-brokers and their factions have already begun drawing battle lines for the Umno internal polls due to be held next year. The under-performing Najib is widely expected to be ousted by his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, who has secured support from Mahathir, one of the most influential players in the party.

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