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MP SPEAKS | New book on Harapan govt fruit of Dr M's falsehoods

MP SPEAKS | Romen Bose’s book “Shattered Hopes” on post-2018 politics in Malaysia disclosed former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s views riddled with half-truths and falsehoods.

Mahathir is an expert in selective memory to paint a favourable picture of himself. While we can charitably attribute such lapses to senility due to his advanced age, his unbridled political ambitions and motivation for vengeance politics compel me to put the record straight.

As his finance minister, I had a ringside seat at the commendable start of his second stint as prime minister intent on delivering on our 2018 Pakatan Harapan general election manifesto.

Unfortunately, this early promise descended rapidly to his open contempt of and flagrantly breaching almost every major election promise made by Harapan.

From stating that the Harapan manifesto was not sacrosanct to openly opposing major promises like highway toll reduction, the 2018 Harapan administration rapidly spiralled into a daily acrimonious battle between those seeking to uphold major election promises against his bully boys led by then PKR deputy president and economy minister Azmin Ali.

No wonder Harapan’s popularity plunged when he was intent on fighting his allies as ferociously as his opponents.

Open threat

Mahathir openly threatened to sack me three times in cabinet meetings. He was openly riled up by my persistent insistence on reducing the North-South Highway toll by 18 percent over his strenuous objections.

He was also opposed to my implementing open tenders for government procurements and granting development allocations to our MPs.

Despite his opposition, I managed to lobby a majority of cabinet members to agree with these proposals to his chagrin.

Mahathir was also surprised by my opposition to his wish to ban Umno as a political party. Much as we were opposed to Umno then, this goes against the grain of fundamental human rights of freedom of association.

Umno did not ban DAP or PKR when we were in the opposition and we would be worse than Umno should we attempt to do so. I disclosed this to Anwar Ibrahim and we managed to prevail upon Mahathir to abandon his idea.

Mahathir was also angry with the role played by then DAP Damansara MP Tony Pua as my political secretary. He hinted many times that he wanted me to sack him.

I refused and made it clear that I would also leave if Mahathir forced the issue.


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