Friday, March 11, 2016

Angry with Najib, Kedah folk still back Dr Mahathir

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad remains popular in his home state of Kedah, despite Umno raining down criticism on him for collaborating with opposition leaders to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.  Yesterday, Putrajaya terminated his role as adviser to Petronas but Kedahans are still holding on to Dr Mahathir's legacy in the northern state.    The memory of Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir's removal as menteri besar is still fresh in their minds, and they blame Najib for what they perceive to be a purely political move. On the other hand, they still have great respect for Dr Mahathir, and some even expressed support for the former prime minister's Citizens' Declaration – a joint movement between a few Umno, opposition and civil society leaders aimed at bringing down Najib. "No one has said anything negative about Dr Mahathir collaborating with the opposition. Most Kedahans are unhappy with Najib. "We Kedahans don't support Najib's decision to remove Mukhriz as the menteri besar and we are unhappy with the yes-men in Umno," ‎ Mohd Herman Rahim, 33, told The Malaysian Insider. Herman, from Dr Mahathir's former parliamentary seat of Kubang Pasu, said people here still held the veteran politician in high esteem because his 22 years in government did not burden the people nor was there much scandal – at least not of the proportions now surrounding the current administration. "During Dr Mahathir's time, we never ‎heard about any personal or financial scandals. "Under Najib, we've been reading about all sorts of scandals and issues involving the government. Then there's the rising cost of living, which is making life harder for the people." Mohd Hazriq Hamid, 31, said the removal of Mukhriz – Dr Mahathir's son – was the reason more Kedah folk were turning their backs on Umno and Najib.  "The menteri besar saga made Kedahans realise that Najib was only playing politics and trying to save his career, and Mukhriz paid the price. "‎Mukhriz is Dr Mahathir's son, a statesman both revered and respected among most Kedahans. "Najib's actions caused more people to sympathise with Dr Mahathir and feel frustrated towards those Umno leaders who conspired with Najib." Dr Mahathir's collaboration with opposition leaders, such as DAP, was not a problem, added Hazriq, even though the Chinese-majority party was often seen as Umno's biggest enemy. "Dr Mahathir working with DAP is not a big issue. Besides, the declaration doesn't talk about cooperation with any specific opposition party. It's only about asking Najib to step down." Kedah Umno grassroots leader Maj Anuar Abdul Hamid said he had yet to hear anyone complain about Dr Mahathir working with the opposition, but conceded that veteran supporters may fall for Umno's attacks against the former prime minister.  He said he planned to explain and distribute the Citizens' Declaration among the grassroots, so they would better understand Dr Mahathir's message. "The youth turn to various sources of information, but the older members still rely on TV3, RTM, and Utusan Malaysia, which slam Dr Mahathir daily," said the Jalan Badlishah Umno branch leader. "They are playing up Dr Mahathir working with DAP to provoke the anger of Malays, particularly Umno members, but they forgot that the people are smarter now." He said Kedahans were more concerned about bread-and-butter issues, such as rising living costs and the low price of rubber and padi, than the sight of Dr Mahathir collaborating with DAP.  More than 50 individuals have signed the Citizens' Declaration, including Mukhriz, former deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin,‎ DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang and PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.  Dr Mahathir ‎said during the launch of the declaration that they would go on a nationwide roadshow to get as many people as possible to sign the declaration and reject Najib. – March 12, 2016.]]>

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