Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a “liar” for claiming that he did not sign the detention orders under the now repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) during Operasi Lalang 1987.
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Deputy Minister Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said as the home minister then, only Mahathir had the power to issue such detention orders on so many politicians, social activists, environmentalists and critics.
He said Mahathir’s attempt to pin the blame on his then Deputy Home Minister, the late Megat Junid Megat Ayob was “unfair and ill-intended.”
“His attempt to clean up his own name on the ISA matter was wrong. He is a liar if he said he did not sign the ISA order,” said Tajuddin, who was a former ISA detainee himself during Ops Lalang.
He said Mahathir’s current political alliance with the DAP, PKR and Amanah via his own Parti Pribumi Bersatu, could be the reason for him trying to blame Megat Junid on the contentious issue.
“Mahathir is trying to push the responsibility to other people in an attempt to clear his name on ISA,” said the Umno supreme council member after officiating the party’s Bagan Baru Puteri and Youth wing division meeting in Penang on Saturday.
“I believe that Mahathir had issued the order for detention and as a detainee, I was informed that if he as the home minister failed to sign the release letter in 60 days, I cannot be free.”
Earlier this week Mahathir said Megat Junid was fully responsible for ordering the ISA detentions in 1987, in which over 100 people were swooped to Kamunting for detention without trial.
Mahathir’s blame game drew sharp rebuke from Megat Junid’s eldest son Megat Fairouz Junaidi, who called on Mahathir to stop accusing his late father
Megat Fairouz said that it was odd for such powers to be delegated to a deputy minister without the knowledge of Mahathir, who was then the home minister.
Tajuddin called on the Home Ministry or the police to reopen the Ops Lalang file to confirm the matter if the issue persisted.
“All questions will be answered if the Home Ministry or police opened their old files to clarify the matter,” he said.
Previously Mahathir has claimed that he acted on the police advice to launch Ops Lalang.