Opposition activists yesterday took the stage to vent their frustrations over their leaders’ collaboration with former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the “Save Malaysia” initiative.
“Blind”, “weak” and “forgetful” were just a few of the words hurled against them during the gathering of pro-reformasi individuals and their anger was directed at the prominent opposition leaders who signed the Citizens’ Declaration on March 4.
They felt betrayed that opposition leaders were now turning to Dr Mahathir to “save” the country which he destroyed in the first place.
Some of the 13 speakers at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCHAH) were especially emotional as they recounted how they experienced first-hand the effects of “Mahathirism” when he was in power.
“They are asking us to forget what happened in 1998. How the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) treated us when we took to the streets, what they did to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. But Malays don’t forget easily.
“Najib will die a natural death. He will die from 1MDB, from the RM2.6 billion donation scandal. We don’t need Dr Mahathir to topple Najib and Barisan Nasional,” Otai Reformis working secretary Abdul Razak Ismail told the crowd of about 200, referring to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Razak said Pakatan Harapan leaders were allowing themselves to be manipulated by Dr Mahathir and his cohorts, who already made it clear they still wanted BN to remain in power.
Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) propaganda director Eddy Noor Reduan said it did not matter whether Anwar has forgiven Dr Mahathir or not – the latter had “victimised” too many people and opposition leaders should not be ignoring this.
“I was once blind and supported Dr Mahathir, only to wake up during (his successor) Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s time.
“Now I am sad, because I who was blind have become clever and can see through the charade.
“But those who were clever in 1998 have now become blind,” said Eddy, referring to the opposition leaders who signed the Citizens’ Declaration.
Even Amanah Selangor leader Saari Sungib said there was something deeply wrong with the idea of Dr Mahathir being the “saviour” of the people.
“Pakatan Harapan must review its decision to work with Dr Mahathir. It must determine how angry the people are over this declaration,” said Saari.
But activist Haris Ibrahim said opponents of Dr Mahathir’s Save Malaysia movement should set aside their emotions and view the matter from a strategic standpoint.
He said he refused to sign the Citizens’ Declaration himself, not because he was angry with Dr Mahathir, but because he felt the latter had not repented.
“Up until today, Dr Mahathir will not admit that he destroyed Malaysia’s institutions. If anyone else led this initiative, I would be okay. But Dr Mahathir? Impossible,” said Haris.
SAMM’s Badrul Hisham Shahrin later told reporters that last night’s programme was their first step towards bringing together Malaysians unhappy with the team-up between Dr Mahathir and the opposition.
“This is not a movement, but a platform for people to air their views. We will go around the country to allow everyone to speak out,” he said.
Dr Mahathir, supported by old political allies in Umno and BN, as well as foes, such as DAP’s Lim Kit Siang, signed the declaration demanding Najib quit as prime minister and for institutional reforms to restore integrity to government bodies.
The group reportedly is targeting a million people to sign the declaration and will also join a gathering on March 27 as part of the Save Malaysia movement’s roadshow to press for Najib’s removal. – March 13, 2016.