KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘apology’ for the mistakes he made during his political career has been rapped by Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak.
He is referring to the former prime minister’s apology at the end of his keynote address at Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) general assembly in Shah Alam yesterday.
In a blog posting, Salleh said that Dr Mahathir’s so-called ‘apology’ sounded more like an excuse rather than an ‘apology.’
“This sounds like a ‘by the way before I go’ sort of statement. In other words, its not an important issue but just an insertion since he happened to be talking on stage. The apology is so general it can mean anything.
“Is Mahathir talking about the forex losses, or the Maminco disaster, or the jailing of Anwar Ibrahim, or the Constitutional Crisis, or Perwaja? Or is he apologising for all the mistakes in his 22 years as the prime minister?.
Dr Mahathir, who is also the PPBM chairman said: “Before I conclude this speech, I want to apologise if I was crude in my language and offended anyone. Like other human beings, I cannot avoid mistakes in politics.
Salleh said for an apology to be sincere it had to be specific, and the apology must be made to the aggrieved party or parties.
“This type of apology can be denied later since it lacks detail. Or it can shift to cover what needs to be covered as the need arises.
“Anyway, it sounds more like Mahathir is offering an excuse for his mistakes by saying it is normal for humans to make mistakes. This means that he cannot be blamed for being human,” he added.
He also described as “unbelievable” Dr Mahathir’s latest promise to bring back freedom of speech if the opposition forms the next government.
“How can Mahathir even think he could get away with such a statement when there’s more freedom of speech now during the time of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak than back in the 1980s when Mahathir was prime minister?” he said on his blog, skeruak.blogspot.my.
He noted that Dr Mahathir had called Najib all sorts of nasty names – a crime of criminal defamation under the law that criminalised slandering and defaming a public servant or officer, elected ones included.
In fact, Dr Mahathir could even face prosecution under the Sedition Act, Salleh said.
“But Najib did not take action. Najib allowed Mahathir to continue to slander him. And every day Mahathir continues to hurl insults at Najib … Mahathir would not have tolerated 10 per cent of what he’s doing to Najib.
“There’s no greater proof than this that Najib is the real propagator of free speech. If not, Mahathir would not be able to do and say all the things he’s doing and saying today,” Salleh said.
It was reported that Dr Mahathir made the promise during the inaugural annual general meeting of PPBM. –Bernama