Nurul Izzah Anwar
Nurul Izzah Anwar

In a recent interview with Singapore’s The Straits Times, Nurul Izzah Anwar claimed that she was “broken hearted” having to work once again with Dr Mahathir who she claimed was an “ex dictator”.

The response from her own team mates were furious. PPBM Supreme Council member Tariq Ismail, the grandson of former deputy prime minister Ismail Abdul Rahman and a staunch supporter of Mahathir, being clearly unaware of how Dr Mahathir worked, claimed “If Tun was still a dictator, he would have an entire Cabinet of PPBM ministers, a dictator would be the only voice.”

“Nurul is entitled to her opinion, but her father did not break himself out of jail,” he added, referring to Anwar Ibrahim’s prison release following a royal pardon in the wake of Pakatan Harapan’s victory at the polls. 

A political observer said Tariq’s comment doesn’t make sense. “Mahathir had absolute control over Malaysian politics during his 22 year rule. It’s a well known fact. What Nurul said is true. So why try to spin it ? Just because Mahathir became the prime minister again doesn’t change history. For example he did jail Anwar Ibrahim on trumped up charges.”

“The problem with Pakatan Harapan is filled with juvenile and mediocre rent-seeking politicians who are simply trying to please their bosses without thinking things through. For example they assume the public aren’t aware of Mahathir’s deeds. Tariq is insulting people’s intelligence, especially those who had to endure the spectacular failures and bailouts.” he added.

Mahathir as the previous prime minister of Malaysia was well known for his executive decisions bulldozing through any opposing comments earning the “dictator” title.  Under the helm of Mahathir, he made decisions on KLIA, Petronas and multitude other projects that were rewarded to close allies, friends and family. The cabinet had no choice but to follow his orders. 

Recently Azmin Ali and Anthony Loke confirmed that the final decision on the sale of Malaysian Airlines lies with Mahathir again confirming what many have observed that Mahathir decides everything while his ministers “are for show”. 

Pakatan Harapan criticism on Nurul Izzah’s comment seems to be an irony when Mahathir himself admitted to The Straits Times that he was a dictator during his 22 year rule.

The Malaysian public has been impatient since promised reforms has been slow to progress. Many see the prime minister using his “1 trillion debt” and 1MDB as key excuse for the lack of progress. Last week Mahathir claimed that he could not provide aid to undergraduates as “Najib stole the money”. 

While many Malaysians has embraced the change in government from Barisan Nasional to Pakatan Harapan, many are now disillusioned with their “New Malaysia”.

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